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Department of the Navy implements No Wrong Door Policy to improve response to victims of sexual assault, abuse

Meredith Miller
Posted at 4:11 PM, Jun 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-30 16:11:14-04

On June 24, Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro directed the U.S. Navy to implement the "No Wrong Door Policy" for victims of sexual assault, sexual harassment and domestic abuse.

Effective immediately, anyone who contacts a helping professional from any Department of the Navy (DON) victim care and support office must either receive services from that office or, with the victim's permission, get a "warm hand-off" to the appropriate service provider.

This warm hand-off will include direct connection, introduction to the responsible staff and follow-through to ensure the needs of the person seeking care are met, the Navy says.

“I want to ensure that the victims and survivors of sexual assault, sexual harassment and domestic abuse receive the right care and quality services they need with minimal delay,” said Del Toro. “The Department of the Navy is committed to the well-being of the victims and survivors, from report to referral, from initial appointment to continuing care.”

The policy applies to all DON personnel responsible for the care and support of victims of sexual assault, sexual harassment or domestic abuse. This includes, but is not limited to, those helping professionals assigned or detailed to the following:

  • Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program
  • Family Advocacy Program
  • Military Equal Opportunity Program
  • Victim Witness Assistance Program
  • Medical professionals
  • Warfighter and Family Services (non-medical counseling providers)
  • Victims’ Legal Counsel
  • Chaplains

The No Wrong Door Policy is the most recent policy change recommended by the DON Implementation Advisory Panel, which Sec. Del Toro created in Feb. 2022 to formulate concrete policy recommendations to advance DON's elimination of sexual assault and sexual harassment from the ranks.

The panel is made up of representatives of all the key DON offices required to make fully informed recommendations to implement the requirements of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 and the approved recommendations of the Secretary of Defense's Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault in the Military.

Click here to read the full policy.

Related: Pentagon outlines sexual assault reforms