The Defense Department today released two reports: the Department of Defense Fiscal Year 2007 Report on Sexual Assault in the Military and the 2006 Workplace and Gender Relations Survey of Active Duty Members.
The Report on Sexual Assault, prepared by the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO), provides an overview of the SAPR program and data on alleged sexual assaults reported during fiscal 2007. In fiscal 2007, 2,688 reports of sexual assault involving service members as subject and/or victim were filed.
Restricted reporting, which provides a victim with support services without initiating the criminal investigation process and preserves the victim’s anonymity, continues to be a crucial option for service members. Some research had found that victims may choose to forego services rather than participate in the investigative process. Of the 2,688 reports made, 705 were under the restricted program. In 102 of these cases, victims later decided to pursue legal charges and switched their report to unrestricted.
The report indicates that the services placed a high priority on training. Comprehensive programs were developed and delivered in methods ranging from traditional, in-person training to more innovative, automated methods delivered on compact disc or the Internet. All of the military services continued to build education and training programs designed to foster a climate of confidence.
The Gender Relations survey, conducted by the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC), was based on a sample of 23,595 respondents and found that 34 percent of active duty women and 6 percent of active duty men indicated experiencing sexual harassment, while 6.8 percent of women and 1.8 percent of men indicated experiencing unwanted sexual contact.
Active duty members gave positive marks for improvement in Department of Defense sexual misconduct training and climate. About 90 percent indicated they received training in the previous year on topics related to sexual harassment and sexual assault and that their training was effective. More than 80 percent reported the Department’s sexual harassment and sexual assault policies and procedures were well publicized. Overall, they were more positive in their assessment of the climate in the military than they were of the climate in the nation in regards to sexual harassment and sexual assault.
As a result of the survey and annual report, SAPRO and DMDC will partner along with other organizations within and outside of the Department of Defense to evaluate the effectiveness of past and present reporting efforts, identify enhanced prevention opportunities and strategies, and continue to monitor victim services.