MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho --
Mountain Home AFB’s first Special Victims Counsel office, staffed by by Capt. Justin Rossi and Tech. Sgt. Natacia Flick, provides representation and legal assistance for victims of sexual assault.
Mountain Home AFB is one of the latest installations in the Air Force to gain an SVC office, offering full attorney-client confidentiality to their clients while providing advice and assistance.
“Once we take on a client, that’s the person we represent, we are not connected to the Wing or the Legal office or the Defense office so it gives us independence to represent what’s best for that person’s interest,” said Capt. Justin Rossi, SVC attorney.
Clients can be referred from the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, Family Advocacy, first sergeants, commanders, the Office of Special Investigation, or reach out to the SVC’s office directly. Sexual assault victims who can receive counsel include Air Force members, dependents and eligible Department of Defense civilians. SVCs can represent sexual assault victims who file either a restricted or unrestricted report.
Rossi explained he is part of the Western Circuit, which has 11 SVCs and one Senior SVC who assist clients from the western states. This circuit ensures coverage for bases that do not presently have an SVC.
The Air Force was the first branch of the military to establish an SVC program in 2013 and the program is now congressionally mandated across the Department of Defense. The SVC program is a part of the Air Force Legal Operations Agency headquartered at Andrews Air Force Base.
SVC advice covers a broad range of help for survivors of sexual assault, such as explaining the military justice system and advocating for survivor’s rights.
Rossi explained one example can be in the form of helping create a statement about how the event impacted the victim, which may be heard by the court during the sentencing phase.
“Victims certainly have the right to be heard, and that means their own voice if they want it to be or through their attorney,” Rossi said.
The office is located in the 366th Fighter Wing Headquarters, Building 512. For more information, call 208-828-0740.