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WASHINGTON - U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command recently developed a "We Care" app that can be used by victims of sexual assault, someone who witnesses sexual harassment or assault, and those in need of suicide prevention help.
"The app is aimed at empowering victims and bystanders to get help, intervene, and support those impacted by sexual harassment, sexual assault or suicide." said Ellen Helmerson, in the Office of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, known as TRADOC, Deputy Chief of Staff, G-1/4. She's also TRADOC's Sexual Harassment/Assault Response Program representative.
Instead of wondering, "What should I have done," the app "lets you know, here's what I should do," she said.
The app, designed for Soldiers at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, has buttons for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, DOD Safe Helpline, post chaplain, post medical treatment facility, and the SHARP hotlines for both Fort Eustis and Langley Air Force Base.
The best thing about the app, Helmerson said, is you just push the button to get help. No dialing is involved. Besides that, it's free.
Additionally, there are options at the bottom to click for information on what to do if you witness an assault, or are assaulted, or are thinking about suicide. Manuals and links to a variety of the most useful sites are also clickable. Helmerson called it "a one-stop shop."
The app can be used for Android and Apple smartphones, tablets and iPads. To find the app at the app store, search for "We Care JBLE."
The app just came out April 30, and Helmerson said it's TRADOC's intent to get it distributed to other TRADOC installations. She said she thinks it could eventually go Army-wide, including to the Reserve Components.
Just a few weeks earlier, TRADOC met with local area colleges near JBLE. She suggested to participants that this is something they may want to consider adopting and adapting for their own institutions.
As she was talking, Helmerson said the participants were downloading the app. "We're fighting the same fight as colleges," she said. "We have the same vulnerable populations in our formations. We can all learn from each other how to address this issue.
"If it helps one person, then our time and effort was really worth it."
The We Care app was created at the Sustainment Center of Excellence, Fort Lee, Virginia, under the guidance of Commanding General Maj. Gen. Larry Wyche and his Mobile Team, Technology Integration Branch, headed by Matt MacLaughler, Diane Jenkins, Tyler Gross and David Garrish. The app was initially piloted in 2012 at Fort Lee, then fielded for use in the summer of 2013.
The same team also modified the app for use at JBLE and obtained the necessary security approvals to host the app at the Apple and Android app stores.