The latest Pentagon report reveals that reporting of sexual assaults reports increased among the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps, even as the Army’s numbers fell.
The report, released on Thursday, showed that the military received more than 8,942 reports of sexual assaults involving service members during the 2022 fiscal year, a slight increase over the 8,866 reported the year before.
The Pentagon on Thursday released its Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military, which shows a roughly 1% increase in overall reports of sexual assaults in fiscal 2022.https://t.co/UT07ATEa1n
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The Air Force saw the largest increase in reported assaults at 13%, followed by the Navy at 9% and the Marine Corps at 4%. Meanwhile, the Army saw a 9% decrease in reported sexual assaults, which Pentagon officials credited to the implementation of new programs, such as a training program for soldiers that emphasizes training on how to respond to dangerous situations.
While some in the Army have expressed relief at the decline in reported cases, officials have emphasized that there is still much work to be done to prevent sexual assault and harassment. Army leaders have acknowledged that issues such as sexual assaults, suicides, and other problems have an impact on recruiting, which has been struggling to meet goals.
Despite the Army’s progress, the increase in reported assaults among the other services is cause for concern.
The Pentagon and the military services have faced criticism and pressure from members of Congress to reduce sexual assaults and harassment in the military, with lawmakers calling for more robust prevention programs and greater accountability for offenders.
The military has made strides in recent years to make it easier and safer for service members to report assaults, including the implementation of a confidential reporting system and the proposed use of independent attorneys to review and prosecute sexual assault cases, rather than unit commanders.
However, the military has struggled to reduce the number of assaults, which has increased nearly every year since 2006.
Nate Galbreath, acting director of the Pentagon’s sexual assault prevention and response office, said the department is going to use a budget of $479 million this year to hire as many as 2,400 personnel for a new “prevention workforce” to help commanders address some of the risk factors that lead to sexual assault.
Galbreath noted that the rate of sexual assault in the military is about the same as that of the civilian population but emphasized that “everyone expects more from the military.”
The Pentagon releases a report every year on the number of sexual assaults reported by or about troops but because of the sensitivity of the issue, the department has to conduct a confidential survey after a couple of to get a clearer picture of the problem.