DOD Prosecuting More Sexual Offenders

A total of 2,419 service members were accused of a sexual assault in 2014 and the Defense Department “had evidence to take some kind of action against 73 percent of them,” according to the Pentagon’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Director Army Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Snow. Over the last year, victims reported eight percent more of the sexual assaults perpetrated against them and “because more survivors participated in the military justice system than ever before, we’ve been able to hold more perpetrators accountable,” said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Thursday, while announcing the results of the latest prevalence survey. “We also believe survivors are becoming more confident in the military’s response to sexual assault” based on recent efforts to improve DOD’s response to victims, Hagel added. Also Thursday, Hagel announced four new initiatives to “build on what we’ve already done” to combat sexual assaults. They include: measures to prevent professional or social retaliation toward victims; training junior officers, as well as enlisted and civilian supervisors how to prevent and respond to assault; and a study of installation-level prevention efforts DOD-wide. “While these initiatives will take time to have an impact, they are critical to lasting change,” summed Hagel. (SAPR report; Caution, large-sized file.)