Today, the Department of Defense (DOD) released the Fiscal Year 2022 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military.
This year’s report, which is required annually by Congress, contains reporting data, military justice case outcomes, and updates on the DOD’s efforts to prevent and respond to sexual assault. This year’s report does not contain sexual assault prevalence data, which the Department assesses via scientific survey and allows the Department to better understand the full scope of the problem.
The Department’s leaders are taking major actions and implementing unprecedented resources to prevent misconduct, assist victims with recovery, and hold offenders appropriately accountable. The Department and Military Services continued to support and execute initiatives directed by the Secretary of Defense that impact the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response mission, including recommendations by the Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault in the Military (IRC).
“From Day One on the job, Secretary Austin has prioritized stopping sexual assault in the military,” said Ms. Elizabeth Foster, Executive Director of the Office of Force Resiliency. “The Department is making unprecedented investments in countering this problem, and has made significant progress in implementing key reforms, such as standing-up the Offices of Special Trial Counsel, building a dedicated and specialized workforce focused on preventing sexual assault, and improving the training and structure of sexual assault response personnel to empower survivors. Cultural change of this magnitude will take time, but we owe it to our Service members to sustain momentum and ensure these efforts take hold throughout the force.”
The Secretary of Defense has also directed the Department to focus on specific actions intended to eradicate harmful behaviors, including sexual assault and sexual harassment. The Department will also continue its efforts to professionalize the sexual assault response workforce, hire a dedicated integrated prevention workforce, and further assess the prevalence of sexual assault and sexual harassment in the force.
“Our national military strategy depends upon a lethal, resilient, and agile Joint Force,” said Dr. Nate Galbreath, (Acting) Director of DoD’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office. “Taking care of our people is central to fielding combat-credible capabilities that are respected worldwide. Our initiatives this year empowered leaders to identify threats to readiness and restore the health of both their units and Service members impacted by sexual assault and other misconduct. We are on track to make the reforms and investments necessary to counter sexual assault in the military.”