Throughout the month of April, Coast Guard Compass is highlighting the service’s efforts in sexual assault prevention and response as well as introducing you to members of the Service who dedicate themselves to supporting their shipmates and community.
Tiffani Collier has devoted close to twenty years of her life to being an advocate for the men and women of the Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. As the sexual assault response coordinator for more than 40 Coast Guard units in southern California perhaps nobody better embodies the duty for every Coast Guard member to stand beside their shipmates.
Collier, who began her career in federal service in 1993, is an advocate in every sense of the word and was first introduced to sexual assault prevention in 1994 with the inception of the Navy’s Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention Program. From the beginning, Collier reached out to her civilian colleagues for their expertise and guidance and she started volunteering at the Sexual Assault Crisis Agency in Long Beach, Calif., one of the first agencies in the nation to utilize the sexual assault response team model of managing sexual assaults.
Her work with the crisis agency allowed her to build the foundation of her knowledge on sexual assault prevention and response. This collaborative approach armed her with the information she needed to best aid servicemembers and after working with the 61st Medical Squadron at Los Angeles Air Force Base, in El Segundo, Calif., Collier transitioned to the Coast Guard in 1998.
The vital aid she has and continues to provide survivors of sexual assault is critical, but she plays an equally important role in ensuring Coast Guard commands remain mission ready by training personnel on sexual assault prevention and response. Her significant efforts at educating the units and personnel within her area of responsibility resulted in training programs on suicide prevention, sexual assault, workplace violence and traumatic stress.
While she is devoted to ensuring her local units are trained, she has also made Coast Guard-wide impacts. A tireless activist for the wellbeing of the men and women of the Coast Guard, she wasn’t satisfied with reaching out to just her local area and in 2004, Collier co-developed a sexual assault prevention workshop which was adopted Coast Guard-wide and would later become the service’s first standardized all hands training on sexual assault.
When the Coast Guard started up a Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program in 2007, Collier was committed to making the program a success and coordinated the Coast Guard’s first victim advocacy training.
“Tiffany has been a major force within our program for several years,” said Robert Skewes, chief of the Coast Guard’s office of work-life. “Her long-term commitment to sexual assault prevention and response exemplifies the dedication that our program has to eradicating sexual assaults within the Coast Guard.”
Last year, she created an opportunity for all of the Coast Guard’s sexual assault response coordinators to get together and co-facilitated the service’s first table top exercise on sexual assault.
“Her efforts to help develop our victim advocate training curriculum, and work with our program manager on the training team that facilitated the pilot course, have been instrumental in expanding the support network available to Coast Guard personnel that are victims of sexual assault,” said Skewes.
Collier’s duty to servicemembers has not gone unnoticed and she was recently awarded the Department of Defense’s Exceptional Sexual Assault Response Coordinator Award for the Coast Guard, the first in our service.