By Lt. Stephanie Homick
BOSTON (NNS) -- Rear Adm. Sean Buck, director, 21st Century Sailor Office,recently traveled to the New England area to meet with Sailors from the submarine community, Command Leadership School, Senior Enlisted Academy, Boston-area Navy recruiters and members of a two Boston universities, April 21-23.
Buck conducted a three-day fleet engagement trip to visit with Sailors at Naval Station (NS) Groton, NS Newport and Navy Recruiting District New England to introduce the 21st Century Sailor Office, update the fleet on where the Navy stands regarding sexual assault, suicides, and alcohol-related incidents, and to solicit feedback from the Fleet about how to best communicate information and how to improve the delivery of future training for the fleet.
"Let me update you on how our Navy is doing in eliminating many destructive behaviors," said Buck. "Sexual assault awareness has vastly improved. Awareness about the reporting process is up because of all the training you've completed over the last year. We have also worked hard to develop a benchmark response system for victims of sexual assault. As we sustain this awareness and response system, now is the time to further step up our prevention efforts. To that end, my office will be rolling out skills-based bystander intervention training later this year. We will also introduce other scenario-based training focused on eliminating negative behaviors on the left side of the Continiuum of Harm such as sexual harassment."
In addition to sexual assault prevention and response, the 21st Century Sailor Office is responsible for suicide prevention, drug and alcohol abuse prevention and the physical fitness program.
"We saw a 26% decrease in suicides last year from the previous year," said Buck. "However, one suicide is one too many... There have been decreases in the number of alcohol-related incidents and DUIs. Since we started testing for synthetic drugs, the number of Sailors popping positive for synthetic drugs has dropped off tremendously. PRT-related administrative separations are down."
Buck also wanted to solicit feedback from the fleet. He asked Sailors how they wanted to receive information from the 21st Century Sailor Office and how they best receive training so it is relevant and meaningful.
Sailors advocated for information to be passed to them via social media, but continued to agree that the best method was face-to-face interaction so that there can be an open dialogue in better understanding and comprehending the information. Additionally, the submarine community asked for resources to be downloaded on the SIPR network, so that they would have access to it during their working hours. For training, Sailors requested small, peer-led focus groups of mixed gender and rank. They would like short and concise training that is impactful in its messaging, but that has minimal impact to the workday.
The trip concluded with visits to two Boston-area universities, Wellesley College and Northeastern University. Buck met with the psychology departments, school of criminal justice and the college of health sciences to share best practices and resources for sexual assault prevention and response.