The Department of Defense announced today the release of the second annual report on the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) program. The report provides data on alleged sexual assaults reported to military officials during calendar year (CY) 2005 in which members of the armed forces are victims or offenders.
The data indicate that the department has made great progress in establishing a robust and effective sexual assault prevention program. All of the military services implemented aggressive education and training programs designed to build a climate of confidence. Fundamental changes to reporting procedures were also adopted across the department. This integrated program resulted in 2,374 reported allegations of sexual assault involving a service member as either a victim or perpetrator.
Previous DoD studies and commissions found that some victims chose to forego support services rather than participate in the investigative process. To address this barrier, the department instituted two methods of reporting: restricted and unrestricted. Unrestricted reporting gives victims support services and initiates the criminal investigation process. There were 2,047 unrestricted reports in CY 2005. Restricted reporting allows members to access care without automatically starting the investigative process. Implemented in June 2005, there were 435 restricted reports.
The new restricted reporting option accounted for 65 percent of the 674-report increase over CY 2004. In addition to removing barriers, DoD designed this option to provide the time, care and empowerment necessary for some victims to request a criminal investigation of their assault. In 2005, 108 (or 25 percent) of the victims who chose restricted reporting subsequently changed to unrestricted reporting.
At the close of the reporting period on Dec. 31, 2005, criminal investigations had been completed on 1,386 cases. This resulted in 163 unidentified alleged offenders and 44 alleged offenders where either civilian or foreign authorities had jurisdiction. Another 641 alleged offenders had cases that were either unfounded, unsubstantiated or there was insufficient evidence to prosecute. When the reporting period closed, 352 offenders were awaiting final action and another 274 had punitive action completed.
The 2006 report will detail the status of the 661 investigations that were pending completion and the action taken on the 352 offenders awaiting final action.
This second annual report demonstrates the department’s commitment to eliminating sexual assault from its ranks by removing barriers, creating a climate of confidence in reporting and ensuring care is accessible for all victims.
Recognizing that this will be a long term effort, the Joint Task Force for Sexual Assault Prevention and Response has transitioned to a permanent office under the direction of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. The department will continue to refine the SAPR program and ensure its vigorous implementation throughout the armed forces.
To view the executive summary of the department’s report to Congress, click here .