The Department of Defense today released the fiscal 2011 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military, as required by the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2011. To date, this is the eighth report DoD has released.
The report finds that in fiscal 2011, there were a total of 3,192 reports of sexual assault involving service members as either victims or subjects. This represents a one percent increase in reports of sexual assault compared to fiscal 2010.
“Sexual assault has no place in this department. It is an affront to the basic American values we defend, and to the good honor of our service members and their families,” said Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta. “Since taking this office, I’ve made it one of my top priorities to do everything we can to reduce and prevent sexual assault, to make victims of sexual assault feel secure enough to report this crime without fear of retribution or harm to their career, and to hold the perpetrators appropriately accountable. I will be announcing the next series of steps the department will be taking early next week during consultations with Congress.”
The report also details actions taken against the subjects investigated as a result of these reports. In fiscal 2011, the department had jurisdiction and sufficient evidence to take disciplinary action against 791 subjects for a sexual assault offense. Of these subjects, 489, or 62 percent had courts-martial charges preferred against them. That represents a 10 percentage point increase in the rate of courts-martial charges preferred compared to fiscal 2010. The proportion of military subjects against whom commanders decided to take disciplinary action for sexual assault offenses by preferring court-martial charges has increased steadily since fiscal 2007, when only 30 percent of subjects had charges initiated against them.
Since August 2011, a two star general has overseen the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office and under the leadership of the secretary of defense, several new victim-focused policies have been implemented since the end of fiscal 2011. These included expanded legal assistance, expedited transfers for victims of sexual assault, and extended retention of forensic examination and investigative reports.
Other new initiatives to enhance how the department prevents and responds to sexual assault include:
- Establishment of a sexual assault advocate credentialing and certification program;
- Expansion of sexual assault support services to military spouses and adult military dependents;
- Expansion of emergency care and support services to DoD civilians stationed abroad and DoD U.S. citizen contractors in combat areas;
- Increased funding for investigators and judge advocates to receive additional specialized training;
- Implementation of an integrated data system for tracking sexual assault reports and managing cases; and
- Assessment of how the department trains commanding officers and senior enlisted leaders on sexual assault prevention and response.
“As this report makes clear, we have more work to do to confront this problem. There are no easy answers, but that makes it all the more essential for us to devote our energy and our attention to trying to confront this challenging crime,” Panetta said.
The complete report is available at http://www.sapr.mil and you can view a fact sheet of the report at http://www.defense.gov/news/sexualassaultannualreportfactsheet.pdf . For specific information regarding the military departments, contact the Army at 703-697-2564, the Navy at 703-697-5342, and the Air Force at 703-695-0640.