Reported sexual assaults at military academies increased by over 50 percent from last year to this year, according to a Defense Department report that prompted two new sexual assault response policies.
"The academies saw an overall increase in the number of sexual assault reports made to authorities in [Academic Program Year] APY 2010-2011," the Department of Defense (DOD) announced yesterday in a statement on the Annual Report on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the Military Service Academies. "During the evaluation period, a total of 65 reports of sexual assault involved cadets and midshipmen compared to a total of 41 reports in the prior APY."
DOD has initiated a new policy to expedite transfer requests related to sexual assault complaints. "Under a new policy on expedited transfers, service members who have been the victim of sexual assault and have filed an Unrestricted Report now have the option to request an expedited transfer from their unit and/or installation," DOD said. "The service member must receive a response to the transfer request from the unit commander within 72 hours, and can request a review of any denied request by a General/Flag Officer (or SES equivalent) in the chain of command and receive that response within the next 72 hours." DOD also changed record keeping policies to provide sexual assault plaintiffs with greater access to necessary data.
"One sexual assault is one too many," Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in the statement. "Whether it’s in our academies or our ranks, at sea or ashore, there’s no place for this unacceptable behavior. We treat each other with dignity in this institution."