DOD Report Shows Sexual Assault Rates Keep Falling

"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 Pentagon's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, said in a statement.

A restricted report is not referred for criminal investigation or to commanders and allows the service member who made it to seek confidential support, medical care and counseling.

The report estimates that in 2016, roughly 32% of all sexual assaults that occurred in the military were reported, up from 25% a year earlier, and just 15% in 2014.

Protect Our Defenders, an independent organization set up to tackle injustices across the Armed Forces, cites other materials which say as many as 14,000 sexual assaults took place in 2016 but that only 20 percent were reported.

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

Victim advocates say the rise in numbers does have a positive behind it as it could mean victims are becoming more comfortable reporting assaults.

In fiscal year 2013, Fort Hood, which is among the country's largest Army posts, had 165 unrestricted sexual assault reports and 42 restricted reports for a total of 207.

The overall numbers released Friday reflect previous reports by SAPRO.

Sexual assault reports at Maryland military bases increase
Hundreds of sex assaults reported at San Diego military bases last year

Before FY 2014 (Oct. 1, 2013 to September 30, 2014) the DoD reports that 15% or fewer military members reported a sexual assault.

Reports of sexual assaults in combat zones have decreased dramatically since 2013, although they increased slightly a year ago, the data show.

The Navy reported 4,788 incidents, with the Air Force following with 3,876 and the Marine Corps last with 3,400. They include active-duty service members, activated Reserve and National Guard troops and civilians who allege assaults by active-duty military personnel.

In 2014, Lejeune's number dropped slightly to 150 before ballooning to 164 in 2015 and then 169 in 2016.

"We can not be afraid to talk about sexual harassment and assault", said Maj. The incident could have occurred "while on deployment, while away on leave, or even prior to entering the military", the Pentagon told ABC News.

While the Pentagon has previously released aggregate totals of reported sexual assaults in the military, breakdowns of reports at specific bases had been withheld.

In 2016, data showed a decrease from 6.1 percent of active duty women in 2012 to 4.3 percent in 2016, and from 1.2 percent of active duty men in 2012 to 0.6 percent in 2016.

  • Rogelio Becker