Today, the Department of Defense released its Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015.
Overall, sexual assault reporting remained consistent with the high levels seen in recent years. The department received a total of 6,083 reports of sexual assault for allegations involving service members. In addition, climate survey results indicate that over 16,000 service members intervened in situations they believed to be at risk for sexual assault.
“Our efforts are having an impact, but there are still many hurdles to overcome,” said Army Maj. Gen. Camille Nichols, director of the Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office. “Reporting the crime is essential for our ability to bring care and advocacy to survivors, and hold offenders appropriately accountable.”
Encouraging greater sexual assault reporting is one of five key Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) program efforts outlined in this year’s report. Other areas where the department took significant action include advancing sexual assault prevention; improving response to male sexual assault victims; combatting retaliation associated with sexual assault; and tracking accountability of sexual assault cases.
“This is the first year our annual report has been organized around specific program efforts,” Nichols said. “Each one demands our most critical focus and will help the department continue to drive action moving forward.”
Another first for the department includes conducting the 2015 Military Investigation and Justice Experience Survey, designed to obtain survivor feedback about participating in the military justice process. Data shows that most survey respondents were highly satisfied with the support they received, with 77 percent saying that they would recommend other survivors come forward to report sexual assault.
“Our leaders must continue to foster a climate of dignity and respect where men and women feel empowered to intervene to help others and where all allegations of inappropriate behavior are treated with the utmost seriousness,” Nichols said. “Our men and women in uniform deserve nothing less.”
The annual report for FY15 is available online at www.sapr.mil/index.php/annual-reports. Additional information about the department’s sexual assault prevention efforts can be found at www.sapr.mil.
Members of the DoD community who have been affected by sexual assault can access 24/7, confidential, anonymous support through the DoD Safe Helpline at www.safehelpline.org, or by calling 877-995-5247.