Army's Judge Advocate General to Launch Special Victim Advocate Program
This month, the Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Army announced the guidelines of its Special Victim Advocate Program (SVAP), which will begin providing initial services in a limited capacity on Nov. 1, 2013. This program is designed to appoint Judge Advocates, known as Special Victim Advocates (SVAs), who will have the responsibility of providing legal counsel and legal representation to alleged sexual assault victims in military cases.
According to the announcement, anyone who is appointed to the SVA position must have the appropriate level of training, trial or defense experience, maturity and judgment for this role. Those who are being considered will be evaluated for their experience, knowledge and legal abilities both in the military justice system and in general legal assistance.
The SVAs will be selected from among the Legal Assistance Division of the Staff Judge Advocate's office. The program will start off with 45 active-duty Judge Advocates who will carry out their roles Corps-wide. Through its initial operational capability (IOC), the program will begin with the SVAs being assigned to certain locations in the U.S. and abroad. There will likely be up to two on-site SVAs for installations that are larger. SVAP is expected to reach full operating capability (or to be fully launched) by Jan. 1, 2014.
The SVAP's handbooks, policies and other materials are expected to reach publication prior to the start of IOC, according to the Judge Advocate General's announcement. An SVA course offered this month will provide curriculum specifically designed for the program, and the training materials will be available online soon following the Nov. 1 launch. SVAs cannot start carrying out their duties until after they receive training.
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