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Fort Hood opens People First Center to combat sexual assault, suicide

Fort Hood launches an effort to address sexual assault, suicide by opening the People first...
Fort Hood launches an effort to address sexual assault, suicide by opening the People first Center.(Eric Franklin)
Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 6:49 PM CDT
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FORT HOOD, Texas (KWTX) - U.S. Army officials on Thursday unveiled a training center at Fort Hood to help improve the military’s culture following reports of suicides, murder, sexual assault, and substance abuse.

The new People First Center aims to create a more supportive environment for soldiers.

The facility will be a centralized location where leaders can gather resources and support services to ensure the III Corps soldiers’ safety, morale, and readiness.

It will also provide resources and support for soldiers who are victims of sexual assault or experiencing suicidal thoughts.

The Army hopes to help train personnel to save lives with training scenarios that will highlight the complex issues currently facing soldiers.

The training identifies methods soldiers can use to intervene and help other soldiers dealing with alcohol abuse, sexual assault, and even toxic leadership.

“What’s happening here at Fort Hood is a great example, but (these issues) are also taking place at other installations,” said Lt. Gen. Gary M. Brito, the deputy chief of staff of G-1 of the Army.

Brito said the new center will have a “very cordial, comfortable environment, responsive to any soldiers and victims.”

“I saw some things here in the PFC People First Center that I know are being replicated across the Army as well, some great military’s techniques and procedures - I saw,” said Brito.

As the U.S. Army prepares to test a new approach to addressing sexual harassment and assault, the Army will need the help and support of all Soldiers to ensure that everyone feels safe supported.

“Soldiers must feel safe and secure when they report rape or assault. They should be treated with dignity and support throughout the entire process,” said Brito.

An independent investigation conducted after the deaths of more than several soldiers at Fort Hood in 2020 revealed that the military’s leaders failed to address the issue of sexual assault and other problematic issues.

The Army is implementing 70 of the committee’s recommendations. One of the most critical steps involves developing a plan for the military’s sexual harassment and assault issues identified in the report.

The Army is also launching a year-long pilot program called the “Fusion Directorate” designed to improve the response to sexual assault and harassment complaints at seven locations.

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