Secretary Hagel Releases Progress Report to the President on Sexual Assault in the Military, Announces Four New Directives to Strengthen Department Response
Today, Secretary Hagel released a report on the Department of Defense’s recent progress in addressing sexual assault in the military, and announced four directives to further strengthen the department’s prevention and response program.
Sustained senior leadership engagement over the past three years – including 41 secretary of defense initiatives – has changed how the military works to prevent, respond to and effectively adjudicate sexual assault crimes.
“Eradicating sexual assault from our ranks is not only essential to the long-term health and readiness of the force; it is also about honoring our highest commitments to protect our fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines,” Secretary Hagel said today.
Preliminary survey data indicate that our efforts are driving progress. Service members experienced fewer sexual assaults in fiscal year 2014 than in fiscal year 2012 – an estimated 19,000, down from 26,000. Although this is a reduction, there is clearly more work to be done.
In addition, the number of service member victims choosing to report these crimes has increased by more than 50 percent over the same period of time. This indicates an increased confidence in the department’s ability to support victims, and adjudicate these crimes.
While signs of progress are encouraging, the mission is far from complete.
The secretary announced today four directives intended to further improve the department’s sexual assault prevention and response programs by: (1) creating a pilot program for select installations that will customize prevention efforts (2) requiring commanders to identify and prevent retaliation, (3) training first-line supervisors to lead sexual assault and prevention programs, and (4) further publicizing resources for victims.
“DoD will continue its strong and committed efforts to pursue comprehensive and dynamic approaches to fighting sexual assault in the military. President Obama and all of DoD’s leaders, both military and civilian, are committed to doing whatever it takes to stamp out this scourge,” said Hagel.
The department is committed to eradicating sexual assault in the ranks, and will continue our focused, transparent, collaborative approach to further ensure that each service member is treated with dignity and respect.
The report is available online at http://sapr.mil/public/docs/reports/FY14_POTUS/FY14_DoD_Report_to_POTUS_Full_Report.pdf.
The directives are available online at http://sapr.mil/public/docs/reports/FY14_POTUS/FY14_DoD_Report_to_POTUS._SecDef_Initiatives.pdf
More information about the department’s sexual assault prevention efforts can be found at www.sapr.mil.
Survivors are encouraged to contact the Safe Helpline at 877-995-5247 or visit www.safehelpline.org for confidential and anonymous crisis intervention services.