SCRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
The Department of Defense created a new initiative called “Catch a Serial Offender” to increase the effectiveness of the sexual assault prevention and response program and offering another avenue for victims to report suspect information.
According to Christina Martinez, 50th Space Wing sexual assault victim advocate, CATCH gives individuals making restricted reports a way to anonymously disclose suspect information to help the DOD identify serial offenders.
“Individuals entering data can choose to enter as much or as little information as they deem appropriate or feel comfortable entering,” she said.
The program also allows an individual to add additional information at a later date and time, and allows law enforcement and investigative agencies to identify possible serial sexual assault offenders.
John Camacho, 50th Security Forces Squadron investigator, said the program will provide a way forward for victims and enhance the help investigative agencies and law enforcement can provide to the victim.
“I think the program is great,” Camacho said. “Victims are often scared to come forward. This program allows them to submit their reports online.
The CATCH program does not disclose the victim’s identity when they input data and participation in the program is voluntary.
“Data entries are queried against other CATCH entries, via the CATCH website, other unrestricted reports and law enforcement data for possible matches in the system,” Martinez said. “If a match is determined, the victim would be notified of the match, allowing them to make an informed decision about converting to an unrestricted report.”
The victim will be provided with a username and password by the SAPR office, generated based off of their restricted report.
“Victims can log into the system and enter their information or can fill out and mail in a hard copy of the CATCH form,” Martinez said. “Entries made in the CATCH system will remain active for 10 years.”
The 50th SAPR office will incorporate the program into the services they offer to the victim.
“Our office will discuss the CATCH program with any individual who has reported or opts to make a restricted report of sexual assault,” Martinez said.
Martinez said even though the new program will identify potential offenders, there is another step to take before an investigation starts.
“There will not be an investigation of an incident without an individual converting their report from a restricted to an unrestricted report,” she said.
For more information regarding the CATCH program, visit the SAPR office website at www.sapr.af.mil or call at 567-7634 or 719-567-7446. For confidential 24/7 crisis intervention, call or visit the DoD Safe Helpline at 877-995-5247 or safehelpline.org.