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Slight increase in military sexual assault in 2020

Data-savvy officials say reports of sexual assault increased by about 1% compared to the 2019 total.

Washington — Reports of sexual assault across the US military increased only slightly in 2020. That year, bases around the world worked on a COVID-19 pandemic, and the military was largely blocked for several months.

Data-savvy officials said reports of sexual assault increased by about 1% compared to the 2019 total. The Army and Marine Corps reported a slight increase, but the Navy and Air Force decreased slightly, they said. Authorities discussed data that had not yet been released, subject to anonymity.

In 2019, more than 7,800 sexual assaults were reported, up from more than 6,000 in the previous year. It is unclear how much the pandemic played in the slight increase in assaults last year.

This increase, albeit slightly, could only help intensify the debate over the Pentagon’s failure to reduce the number of sexual assaults and harassments over the past decade or more. And military prosecution of crimes is rarely subdued by the growing debate that it must be deprived of commanders and handed over to civilians.

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The first directive after Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin took office in January ordered senior leaders to investigate a sexual assault prevention program, and later he established an independent committee to study this issue. did. The Commission has already recommended that decisions to prosecute military personnel for sexual assault be made by independent authorities rather than commanders.

Such a change would be a major reversal of military practice and a long-sought change for parliamentarians. Austin gave the service leader 30 days to review the recommendations and return with his opinion.

The response to sexual assault and other violence by the military has been closely monitored following the aftermath of a series of violent crimes, including murder and suicide in Fort Hood, Texas last year. More than 20 Fort Hood soldiers, including Spc, died in 2020. Vanessa Gillen was killed by a fellow soldier.

Related: The Army has discovered that Vanessa Gillen has been sexually harassed by a Fort Hood supervisor.Appropriate measures have not been taken

Her death prompted an independent review, and it was found that military leaders did not adequately deal with the high rates of sexual assault and harassment in the post. The chairman of the Independent Review Board told the House of Representatives at a hearing earlier this year that the basic leadership was focusing on military readiness and “completely and completely ignored” the sexual assault prevention program. As a result, low-level unit commanders did not encourage military personnel to report assaults, and he said they were often ashamed of the victims or were actually the perpetrators themselves.

These conclusions have spurred military and defense leaders to seek new solutions to the problems that have plagued Pentagon officials for many years.

Formal reports of sexual assault have increased steadily since 2006, with a 13% surge in 2018, a 3% increase in 2019, and a significant 9% increase in the Air Force, according to Pentagon data. is included.

The Pentagon publishes annual reports on the number of sexual assaults in the military. Sexual assault is a very underreported crime, so the department sends anonymous investigations every two years to get a clearer picture of the problem. The investigation was last conducted in 2018 and was scheduled for last year, but due to a pandemic those plans were abandoned.

Defense officials acknowledge that reports of sexual assault have increased steadily over the last 15 years. Unit and military service leaders have spent more time on unit leaders, implementing extensive programs to stop assaults, protect and treat victims, and train young military personnel on how to reach out more. I did.

According to a 2019 report, the commander took some action in nearly two-thirds of the cases.

Slight increase in military sexual assault in 2020

Source link Slight increase in military sexual assault in 2020

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