DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE ANNUAL REPORT ON SEXUAL ASSAULT IN THE MILITARY

Sexual assault is a crime that has no place in the Department of Defense (DoD), and the Department’s leadership has a zero tolerance policy against it. It is an affront to the basic American values we defend, and may degrade military readiness, subvert strategic goodwill, and forever change the lives of victims and their families.Unfortunately, sexual assault is also a crime that is significantly underreported, both within and outside of the Military Services.  In 2005, the Department established the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Program to promote prevention, encourage increased reporting of the crime, and improve response capabilities for victims.  The DoD Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO) is responsible for the policy that supports the SAPR Program and the oversight activities that ensure its effectiveness. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, DoD SAPRO worked with the Military Services and other Department representatives to clarify the SAPR Policy and incorporate requirements outlined in federal law.

Section 1631 of Public Law (P.L.) 111-383, the Ike Skelton National Defense Authorization Act for FY11, requires the Secretary of Defense to submit to the Committees on Armed Services an annual report on sexual assaults involving members of the Armed Forces. Section 567 of P.L. 111-84 and section 596 of P.L. 109-163 establish additional reporting elements to be included in the report.  This year’s report presents the Department’s programmatic activities and provides statistical analysis of reports of sexual assault during FY11 (October 1, 2010, through September 30, 2011). Enclosed within this report are supplementary reports from the Secretaries of the Military Departments as well as the National Guard Bureau.

In addition, section 1602 of P.L. 111-383 directed the Secretary of Defense to develop and implement an evaluation plan for assessing the effectiveness of the DoD Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program.  For the past four years, the Department has worked to identify appropriate metrics to evaluate the SAPR Program.  The numerical data and statistics contained in the FY09 report, FY10 report, and this report are drawn from metrics identified in the Department’s evaluation plan.  The plan, which is a living document, will continue to be expanded in forthcoming years as the Defense Sexual Assault Incident Database (DSAID) is launched and surveys are expanded to incorporate additional performance indicators.  Consistent with the requirements outlined in P.L. 111-383, the plan continues to identify metrics for the Military Services  to report annually to ensure the safest and most secure living and working environments with regard to preventing sexual assault.

DoD SAPRO organizes and validates its accomplishments using the five overarching priorities within the DoD-Wide SAPR Strategic Plan. The Plan’s five priorities are:

1.  Institutionalize Prevention Strategies in the Military Community
2.  Increase the Climate of Victim Confidence Associated with Reporting
3.  Improve Sexual Assault Response
4.  Improve System Accountability
5.  Improve Stakeholder Knowledge and Understanding of SAPR

Institutionalize Prevention Strategies:  The Department seeks to reduce the number of sexual assaults through institutionalized prevention efforts that influence the knowledge, skills, and behaviors of Service members to stop a sexual assault before it occurs.  In FY11, the Department continued to promote the “Hurts One. Affects All.” social marketing campaign through training videos, public service announcements, and readiness-themed posters. The Military Services also implemented a variety of training and education programs for Service members that featured bystander intervention and other prevention methods.

Increase Confidence in Reporting: The Department is working toward this second priority by striving to improve the confidence Service members have in the reporting process, engendering a positive command climate, enhancing education about reporting options, and reducing stigma and other barriers that deter reporting. The Department also works to increase victims’ confidence in the military justice process. The Department’s goal is to increase the number of victims of sexual assault who come forward to report a sexual assault. In FY11, the Military Services received a total of 3,192 reports of sexual assault involving Service members, which reflects a 1 percent increase in overall reporting from FY10. Of the 3,192 reports of sexual assault in FY11, 2,439 were Unrestricted Reports. The Military Services initially received 877 Restricted Reports; at the request of the victim, 124 reports were converted from Restricted to Unrestricted Reports, leaving 753 reports remaining Restricted in FY11.

Improve Sexual Assault Response:  The Department is improving its response to victims of sexual assault through programs, policies, and activities that enhance victim assistance and augment the military justice process.  DoD SAPRO launched the DoD Safe Helpline, a confidential 24/7 hotline resource for sexual assault victims, which since its launch in April 2011 through the end of FY11 assisted more than 770 individuals through its online and telephone hotline sessions and texting referral services.  DoD SAPRO also collaborated with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape to implement the next phase of an educational curriculum to improve civilian rape crisis center support of military victims.  In addition, the Department revised and reissued the forensic exam form and associated healthcare provider instructions to ensure sexual assault victims receive care that reflects national standards, and each of the Military Services continued to implement SAPR training for the first responders responsible for carrying out sexual assault response.

Improve System Accountability:  System accountability is achieved through data collection, analysis, and reporting of case outcomes as well as review of ongoing SAPR efforts to attain desired programmatic solutions. The Department made significant strides in the development of the Defense Sexual Assault Incident Database in FY11 and continued efforts to standardize case disposition definitions as they pertain to investigations of sexual assault. In FY11, commanders had sufficient evidence to take disciplinary action against 989 subjects.  For the 791 subjects who could be disciplined for a sexual assault offense, 62 percent had courts-martial charges preferred (initiated) against them, 24 percent received nonjudicial punishment under Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and 14 percent received a discharge or another adverse administrative action.  This represents a 10 percentage point increase in courts-martial charges preferred from FY10.  The remaining 198 subjects could not be charged with a sexual assault offense but were charged with other misconduct.

Improve Stakeholder Knowledge:  Improved knowledge and understanding of SAPR by stakeholders is accomplished by communicating the benefits of SAPR programs, conducting and disseminating research specific to SAPR in the military environment, and taking steps to publicize the SAPR Program and its progress. In FY11, the Department focused on fostering new relationships with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services.  DoD SAPRO also participated in numerous briefings and conferences, which allowed for increased education and outreach outside of the military community.  In addition, the Military Services engaged in SAPR outreach, both on-base and in local communities.Examples of activities in FY11 include hosting educational workshops, establishing Memoranda of Understanding with medical facilities and rape crisis centers, and building SAPR awareness among responders.

 

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