The Pentagon’s top civilian and military leaders took their campaign to stop sexual assault in the military to Capitol Hill, where they announced new initiatives to combat the problem.
“General Dempsey and I consider this a serious problem that needs to be addressed,” Secretary Panetta said. “It violates everything the U.S. military stands for.”
The U.S. Department of Defense released a statement on April 16, 2012 regarding the issue of sexual assault in the military.
The initiatives include:
- Establishing with congressional approval a “special victims’ unit” within each service composed of specially trained experts in evidence collection, interviewing and working with victims;
- Requiring that sexual assault policies be explained to all service members within 14 days of their entry into active duty;
- Allowing National Guard and Reserve personnel who have been sexually assaulted to remain on active duty status to obtain the treatment and support afforded to active-duty members;
- Requiring a record of the outcome of disciplinary and administrative proceedings related to sexual assault and retaining the records centrally;
- Requiring commanders to conduct annual organizational climate assessments to measure whether they are meeting the department’s goal of a culture of professionalism and zero tolerance of sexual assault;
- Enhancing training programs for sexual assault prevention, including training for new military commanders in handling sexual assault matters; and
- Mandating wider public dissemination of available sexual assault resources, such as DOD’s “Safe Helpline,” a 24/7 helpline via Web, phone or text message operated by the nonprofit Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network.
To read the full Armed Forces Press Service article, click here.
US Department of Defense
Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office
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