The United States military saw a significant increase in sexual assault reports across all five branches in the last year, up 13 percent from the year prior, according to a new report from the United States Department of Defense.
The numbers, which were first reported by the Associated Press, showed the biggest increase in the Army, with a 26 percent jump in sexual assault reports involving enlisted officers. The Army has not experienced a jump in assault claims this large since 2013, when it saw a whopping 51 percent increase in sexual assault claims.
The increase in sexual assaults in the military comes on the heels of many programs returning to in-person as well as social gatherings among enlisted officers have begun again after shuttering for the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the pandemic’s height in 2020, the military experienced only a 1 percent increase in sexual assault claims.
The annual report is required by Congress as part of its ongoing effort to curb the prevalence of sexual assault in the United States military. The information in the reports is used to implement policies and practices that aim to curb the number of sexual crimes within the armed forces.
“We are taking unprecedented action to prevent sexual assault and restore the trust of Service members in the military justice process,” said Elizabeth Foster, Executive Director of the Office of Force Resiliency. “In addition to the reforms and investments already made in 2021 and 2022, the Department will continue to implement the recommendations of the Independent Review Commission.”
Foster added, “These efforts include standing up a prevention workforce to prevent harmful behaviors and build climates of dignity and respect, establishing independent Offices of Special Trial Counsel to prosecute sexual assault and other named offenses, and professionalizing the sexual assault response workforce with enhanced skills and the independence required to support survivor recovery.”
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: THE GUARDIAN
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