The Department of Defense announced today that Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness David S.C. Chudelivered the departments new sexual assault policy to Congress. The policy provides a foundation through which the department will improve prevention of sexual assault, significantly enhance support to victims and increase accountability.
The department is moving forward to make real changes and to make those changes stick, Chu said. Sexual assault is a crime, and is not tolerated.
Over the past year, the department has been working collaboratively with the services, members of Congress, and national experts to address the crime of sexual assault within the armed forces. As a result, the Joint Task Force for Sexual Assault Prevention and Response was established in October 2004 as the single point of accountability for the departments sexual assault policy. Its initial task was to develop policy incorporating the criteria set forth in Public Law 108-375, the Ronald W. Reagan National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2005, which directed the department to have a sexual assault policy in place by Jan. 1, 2005.
The department needs consistent sexual assault prevention education across the services to create a greater understanding of what constitutes a sexual assault, risk factors, and preventive measures. Service implementation of these policies will have a substantial impact on creating a culture of prevention and an environment that protects the health and well being of our uniformed service members. The sexual assault policy will ensure that there is uniformity in the standards of care and the same support systems are standard throughout the services.
The policies reflect recommendations from the departments Joint Task Force on Care for Victims of Sexual Assault. Core areas include specific guidelines for how to investigate complaints, medical treatment and care for victims, commanders checklists for response actions, reporting of sexual assault information, and expanding access to care through collaboration between military installations and local community support. To view the summary of the policy click here. To view the memorandums click here.
In order to meet the Jan. 1, 2005, requirement from Congress, the department issued directive-type memorandums as the first step of a comprehensive, consistent policy. The department will be working closely with the services to implement the policies in an effective and timely manner. The joint task force will continue to provide oversight of the process.