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The Special Victims’ Counsel’s new office

Capt. Matthew Pellegrine, 49th Wing special victims’ counsel, and Tech. Sgt. Rochelle Schwarz, 49th Wing special victims’ paralegal, pose outside the new Special Victims’ Counsel Office, Jan. 1, 2019, on Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. The SVC offers confidential legal advice to victims of an offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Autumn Vogt)

Capt. Matthew Pellegrine, 49th Wing special victims’ counsel, and Tech. Sgt. Rochelle Schwarz, 49th Wing special victims’ paralegal, pose outside the new Special Victims’ Counsel Office, Jan. 1, 2019, on Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. The SVC offers confidential legal advice to victims of an offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Autumn Vogt)

Airmen pose for a group photo outside of building 788, Jan. 11, 2019, on Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. Col. Brian Patterson, 49th Wing vice commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Sarah Esparza, 49th Wing command chief, celebrated the opening of the Special Victims’ Counsel’s new office. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Autumn Vogt)

Airmen pose for a group photo outside of building 788, Jan. 11, 2019, on Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. Col. Brian Patterson, 49th Wing vice commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Sarah Esparza, 49th Wing command chief, celebrated the opening of the Special Victims’ Counsel’s new office. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Autumn Vogt)

Capt. Matthew Pellegrine, 49th Wing special victims’ counsel, poses for a picture Jan. 11, 2019, in the Special Victims’ Counsel Office on Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. The SVC offers confidential legal advice to victims of an offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Autumn Vogt)

Capt. Matthew Pellegrine, 49th Wing special victims’ counsel, poses for a picture Jan. 11, 2019, in the Special Victims’ Counsel Office on Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. The SVC offers confidential legal advice to victims of an offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Autumn Vogt)

Tech. Sgt. Rochelle Schwarz, 49th Wing special victims paralegal, poses for a picture Jan. 11, 2019, in the Special Victims’ Counsel Office on Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. The SVC offers confidential legal advice to victims of an offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Autumn Vogt)

Tech. Sgt. Rochelle Schwarz, 49th Wing special victims paralegal, poses for a picture Jan. 11, 2019, in the Special Victims’ Counsel Office on Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. The SVC offers confidential legal advice to victims of an offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Autumn Vogt)

HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --

The Special Victims’ Counsel has officially re-opened Jan. 11, 2019, and moved behind the Airman and Family Readiness Center in building 788 here.

The SVC began in 2013 with a mission of providing sexual assault victims free legal advice and advocating for them through military justice matters and issues that result from sex crimes.

“We do a variety of things because the military justice system is extremely complicated for those who have no knowledge of the system,” said Tech. Sgt. Rochelle Schwarz, the 49th Wing special victims’ paralegal. “We go to interviews and do certain things in the court room as far as our legal standing will permit us.”

The SVC has a “front door” located behind the AFRC to provide clients more privacy when they are arriving for their appointments, providing them a safe place to come and seek legal advice concerning their situation.

While Sexual Assault Prevention and Response, Victim Advocate and SVC programs all advocate for victims and provide resources, the main difference is SAPR and VA provide emotional support while the SVC offers legal advice and advocacy to empower clients, said Schwarz.

There are several factors involved in determining whether a victim is eligible for SVC services. Any victim – military or civilian, child or adult, seeking SVC services should complete a referral, these forms can be found in several places to include SAPR, the chaplain and Military Treatment Facility Providers; contact the SVC for more information on other places to obtain a referral.

The major components are dependents, active duty and guard. The program’s eligibility is dictated by the National Defense Authorization Act and also depends on if the client is subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

To contact the SVC, please call (575)572-4941 to schedule an appointment.