The Department of Defense today released key findings from this year’s Military Service Academy Assessment report. The report is the first such assessment to combine an evaluation of the academies’ new sexual assault prevention and response programs, an evaluation of sexual harassment programs, and feedback from cadet and midshipmen focus groups.
DoD officials met with academy personnel, reviewed academy policies and procedures, conducted an extensive data-call for reports and investigative files, and held focus groups with cadets and midshipmen. Based on information obtained during site visits, DoD found that the academies’ programs fulfilled the requirements of existing DoD policies and directives.
Key findings of the report include:
The new DoD sexual assault prevention and response policy is fully implemented at each institution.
Comprehensive and consistent response structures for victim support and care are present and functioning.
All programs ensured every cadet and midshipman receives sexual harassment and violence prevention training as part of their preparation to become military leaders.
Cadet and midshipmen focus group members provided a great deal of frank information, including the following:
A significant amount of time is dedicated to sexual harassment and sexual assault prevention training.
Sexual harassment and sexual assault are taken very seriously by leadership and staff at the academies.
Cadets and midshipmen felt safe on academy grounds and believed that sexual assault occurred infrequently at their schools.
In order to enhance academy programs, the DoD report made several recommendations, including:
Victims of sexual assault should be connected with legal resources as soon as possible.
Academy staff who work with the sexual assault prevention and response programs should increase their training, communication, and cooperation between each other and with off-base resources that support the criminal justice system.
Cooperation agreements with local community resources should be updated to provide greater information sharing and to resolve jurisdictional problems with civilian authorities.
The assessment also found there were a total of 40 reports of sexual assault at the academies during the evaluation period. Of those 40 reports, 20 cadets and midshipmen took advantage of the new confidential reporting option that was enacted across the DoD in 2005-2006. Under this option, military members may choose to obtain medical, mental health care and other services without becoming involved in the criminal justice process. The other 20 sexual assault victims who desired to participate in the military justice process were also provided with support and care. All cadets who reported a sexual assault were able to access services 24 hours a day, seven days a week through their installation’s sexual assault response coordinator.
The 2007 National Defense Authorization Act directed DoD to assess the effectiveness of the three academies’ related policies and programs on an annual basis. The report released today includes data from the last academic program year, from June 1, 2006 through May 31, 2007. The U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Col., were included in the assessment.
The complete report is available at http://www.sapr.mil . For specific information contact the individual military services at (703) 697-2564 for Army, (703) 695-0640 for Air Force, and (703) 697-5342 for Navy.