Sexual Assault and Harassment Prevention and Response in the U.S. Antarctic Program

The U.S. National Science Foundation is committed to ensuring that all U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP) stations, field sites and NSF-funded science and education programs are free from sexual assault and harassment.

To assist in this effort, the NSF Sexual Assault and Harassment Prevention and Response (SAHPR) Office is working with the Office of Polar Programs and the USAP community to:

  • Establish NSF policies and training programs to prevent sexual assault and sexual harassment.
  • Cultivate an organizational climate of mutual trust and respect that encourages survivors to report incidents without fear of retaliation.
  • Ensure sensitive and comprehensive care and treatment of survivors.
  • Ensure all USAP partner organizations understand their roles and responsibilities to prevent and report sexual assault and sexual harassment.
  • Establish continuous monitoring and evaluation mechanisms that track the effectiveness of NSF policies and programs.

Reporting options for the USAP community

The safety of all USAP participants is NSF’s top priority. NSF encourages reporting any incidents of sexual assault or harassment in USAP to the SAHPR office at The following reporting options are currently available:

If you would like to submit a formal complaint to the SAHPR office, NSF will request your consent to refer the matter (including personally identifiable information) to the responsible organization for investigation and response.


The SAHPR office will follow up with that organization to make sure that the matter is appropriately addressed based on the most relevant organizational policies and legal standards.

It is unlawful to retaliate against an individual because they have made a complaint of harassment or discrimination or participated in any manner in a harassment or discrimination investigation or complaint process conducted by federal agencies or an employer.

Retaliation is also inconsistent with the Polar Code of Conduct.

Sexual Assault and Harassment Prevention and Response Office

The SAHPR office serves as NSF’s central point of contact for reporting sexual assault and harassment incidents in the U.S. Antarctic Program and are responsible for overseeing comprehensive prevention policies and practices.

Its mission is to promote safe and inclusive research environments by eliminating instances of sexual assault and sexual harassment through prevention education, victim-centered support, retaliation-free reporting and organizational accountability.

Resources for USAP participants

For current and former USAP participants

If you are a current or former USAP participant and a survivor of sexual assault or harassment, the below resources are available to you.

The NSF Antarctic Helpline is a 24/7 crisis support service available specifically for members of the USAP community who experience sexual assault and/or sexual harassment.

Through this service, helpline support specialists provide live, confidential, one-on-one crisis intervention, emotional support and information about support and reporting resources.

Website and online chat:

Call: 833-673-1733

Text: 202-932-7569

The USAP Victim Advocate provides confidential information about safety planning, reporting, possible accommodations and other support resources for members of the USAP community who experience sexual assault and/or sexual harassment.


Phone: 720-568-1083

USAP Extension: x42709

For current USAP participants only

If you are a current USAP participant in Antarctica, the below resources and services are also available to you.

Are you experiencing an emergency and need immediate assistance in Antarctica? Contact the following:


McMurdo Station and South Pole Station

Call 9-1-1.


Palmer Station

Call for help on the radio.


USAP vessel

Call for help on the radio or call the captain of the vessel.


In the field

Call the McMurdo Dispatch at (720) 568-1042.


For all USAP stations, vessels and fields

You can also contact the special deputy U.S. marshal by phone at (720) 568-1039.

For medical services, such as physical examinations, medical forensic exams and preventative treatments, contact:


McMurdo Station medical services

  • Local extension: x42551
  • Pager: 876


South Pole Station medical services

  • Local extension: x61602
  • Radio call number: 242


Palmer Station medical services

  • Local extension: x52778

The USAP licensed clinical counselor provides confidential mental health support and counseling services.


The NSF station manager is deputized as a special deputy U.S. marshal with law enforcement responsibilities on the ice. These duties include investigating certain alleged crimes that occur in the Antarctic.

The special deputy U.S. marshal is stationed in McMurdo and is available 24/7.


Phone: (720) 568-1039

Contact us

For any questions, comments, suggestions or concerns regarding sexual assault or harassment in the USAP, please contact:

NSF's SAHPR office
Phone: (703) 292–4470

If you do not receive an acknowledgment within 48 hours, please follow up to ensure the SAHPR office has received your communication.

For media and press inquiries, please contact the NSF public affairs office at or (703) 292-8070.