DOD Report Shows Sexual Assault Rates Keep Falling

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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The Department of Defense has released data about sexual assault reports for fiscal years 2013-2016, finding the prevalence rate continues to fall.

The latest figures show that the prevalence rate of sexual assault has been on the decline. For example, the rate for active duty women dropped from 6.1 percent in 2012 to 4.3 percent in 2016. For men, the rate dropped from 1.2 percent in 2012 to 0.6 percent in 2016.

While the number of reported cases in 2016 are up, this is due to the fact that the Pentagon estimates that 32 percent of service members who suffered from sexual assault in fiscal year 2016 reported the incident to the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office or to military law enforcement. This is an increase from 25 percent in fiscal year 2015, as the military has worked hard over the last several years in particular to encourage victims to come forward and report any instances of abuse.

The report breaks down sexual assault rates for each installation, which is the first time this has been done.

In fiscal year 2016, there were a total of 199 reports at Fort Hood, making it the Army base with the largest number of reports. Naval Station Norfolk represented the Navy with 270 reports. There were 169 reports from Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, a Marine Corps installation. The Air Force Academy in Colorado had 44 reports, the highest for the Air Force.

However, Dr. Nate Galbreath, deputy director of the DOD’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, noted that the location of the incident doesn’t necessarily mean the assault took place at that installation. Rather, that place is where the incident was reported. Moreover, the incident could have also taken place before that victim even joined the military.

“One of the features of the department’s reporting program is that service members can report allegations of sexual assault at any time and at any place,” Galbreath said. “As a result, the number of reports listed for an installation doesn’t necessarily mean that the alleged incident occurred there. A report could involve allegations for an incident that occurred while on deployment, while away on leave, or even prior to entering the military. This kind of flexibility allows the department to better meet the department’s goals to increase reporting of sexual assault and decrease the occurrence of the crime through prevention.”

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