DOD Efforts to Reduce Sexual Assault Deemed Inadequate

According to a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that was submitted to the House of Representatives and the Senate Armed Services Committees, the Department of Defense (DOD) has not done nearly enough to reduce the prevalence of sexual violence within the military. While the Pentagon has been making strides to eliminate sexual assault for about a decade, it appears that these efforts have been grossly ineffective and still have a long way to go.

Reported instances of sexual assault have increased by an astounding margin from 2,800 in 2007 to nearly 6,100 in 2014, though the actual numbers are likely to be much higher when considering estimates that suggest only 25 percent of victims report their incident. It is estimated that 20,300 active-duty military members were victims of sexual assault in 2013 alone.

Out of the 18 different tasks that the DOD has planned in accordance with an extensive strategy revealed last year, only two of these methods have actually been implemented. Worse yet, the DOD has not given the four branches of the military proper instructions nor staffing to even handle these efforts. One military base in the GAO’s report cites that only one program coordinator and one victim advocate were given the responsibility to serve 1,200 people.

The DOD has responded to this report claiming that while it agrees that better efforts need to be made to remedy the issue, the rising number of reported incidents is a reflection of the increased confidence of service members in the department’s response rather than a failure of the existing preventative measures.

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