The Pentagon has reported three percent increase in the number of sexual assaults in the US military. In fiscal 2019, there were 6,236 reports from service members on sexual assaults, up from 6,053 in fiscal 2018.
Although the number of sexual assaults has risen, the rate of increase was lower than that was reported in the previous year.
The number of assaults and sexual crimes had spiked by 13 percent in 2018.
Announcing the release of the Defense Department’s Fiscal Year 2019 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military, officials said they are encouraged because the rate of reporting sexual assaults has risen by 3 percent. This may seem counterintutitive, but it does indicate progress, according to Nate Galbreath, the acting director of DOD’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office.
Galbreath said he cannot say that the rate of the crime in U.S. military has dropped, because the department did not conduct a survey this year to assess the prevalence of sexual assault, and the crimes tend to be underreported. “That survey is happening now”.
“Sexual assault remains an underreported crime, both in the military and in the U.S. population writ large,” he said. The department uses the 2018 data to estimate that just under 15,000 instances of sexual assault take place in the military over a year.
Among the three branches of defense, the Air Force saw the highest rate (nine per cent) of rise in sexual assault cases.
Navy reported five per cent increase in cases, while the Army witnessed an increase of two per cent in sexual assaults.
As per the data, 73 per cent of these crimes were committed by a superior.
The progress report, which is required by Congress annually, contains reporting information, feedback from focus groups and updates on the DoD’s efforts to prevent and respond to sexual assault throughout Fiscal Year 2019.
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