Military members reporting sexual assault increased in 2016

Military members reporting sexual assault increased in 2016
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The number of sexual assaults reported at U.S. military installations worldwide increased from 2013 to 2016, according to a new Defense Department (DOD) report released Friday.

The report, which broke down sexual assault reports by service and installations from fiscal 2013 to 2016, found that the Army — the largest of the U.S. military services — had the most sexual assault reports, with 8,294 total across all four years.

The Navy followed with 4,788 reports, the Air Force with 3,876 and the Marine Corps last with 3,400.

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The report estimates the numbers of reported assaults equal 32 percent of all assaults that occurred within the military in fiscal 2016, an improvement over two years ago.

Prior to fiscal 2014, it was estimated that 15 percent or fewer of military sexual assault victims reported it to a military authority.

Broken down by installation, Naval Station Norfolk, Va., the world’s largest Navy base, had 1,055 reported assaults from fiscal 2013 to fiscal 2016. That is the highest number of sexual assault reports across all four years of all U.S. military installations across the globe, and 20 percent of all sexual assault reports from the Navy.

Of all Army installations, Fort Hood, Texas, had the most reports across all four years, with 863.

The U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., had the most reports of the Air Force, with 168, and in the Marine Corps, Camp Lejeune, N.C., had the highest number of reports with 634.

Joint Base San Antonio, which holds Army, Navy and Air Force units, had the most sexual assault reports of any joint base from fiscal 2013 to 2016, with 881.

In combat areas, 295 sexual assaults reported were in Afghanistan from fiscal 2013 to 2016, the highest number when compared to other countries.

The report notes that the location of where a report was made does not necessarily mean the incident occurred there.

“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,” Nate Galbreath, deputy director of the DOD's sexual assault prevention and response office, said in a statement.

“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.”

The reports are also categorized into restricted and unrestricted. The Pentagon in 2013 first began allowing victims of sexual assault to access legal help and counseling without notifying their command and police, which would be classified as restricted reports.

Sexual assault victims seeking police involvement have unrestricted reports.