WASHINGTON, Oct. 19, 2016 —
Over the next few weeks, service members who have experienced sexual assault and elected to participate in the military justice process may have the opportunity to provide the Defense Department with direct feedback on their experiences through the 2016 Military Investigation and Justice Experience Survey, according to a Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office news release.
The department uses the survey data to improve the services and support available to other service members reporting sexual assault, the release said.
Conducted by the DoD’s Defense Manpower Data Center, the survey is anonymous, the release said. It is also the first departmentwide survey effort designed to assess the experiences of service members who have made an unrestricted report of sexual assault and have participated in the military justice system, the release said.
“We take action to improve our programs based on what Service members tell us,” said Nate Galbreath, senior executive advisor for DoD’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office. “We want to hear about your experience and what we can do to better support our members participating in investigation and military justice proceedings.”
Feedback Improves System for All
DoD changed its approach to support as a direct result of this kind of feedback, the release said, including adding confidential reporting, expedited transfers away from the accused, dedicated legal counsel and representation, and anonymous worldwide 24/7 crisis support through the DoD Safe Helpline.
Though results of the survey are not generalizable to the entire population of participants in the justice system, the data drawn from last year’s survey effort demonstrates the importance of gathering feedback from service members who filed a report of sexual assault, Galbreath said. The 2015 survey found that 77 percent of all respondents would recommend others in the military make a report if they are sexually assaulted, the release said. At the same time, many respondents indicated that before their report, they were not aware of many important resources available to them, the release said
“The findings from the 2015 MIJES provide a critical snapshot of the experiences of service members, and speak to the potential benefit of reporting within the military, as well as the value of support and services available to military members who bring forward a report of sexual assault,” said Maia Hurley, a team lead at the Defense Manpower Data Center.
For more information about the survey, contact your sexual assault response coordinator, SAPR victim advocate, special victims’ counsel, or victims’ legal counsel, or find contact information for these personnel at your base or installation.
Members of the DoD community who have been affected by sexual assault can access 24/7, confidential, anonymous support through the DoD Safe Helpline, or by calling 877-995-5247.
Results from the 2016 MIJES will be available in spring 2017 with the SAPRO Annual Report. Eligible respondents have until Dec. 6 to complete the survey.