In a December 3, 2014 memo, here, SecDef required the service secretaries to provide the findings of the 2014 “Department of Defense Report to the President of the United States on Sexual Assault Prevention and Response” to servicemembers, stating:
To encourage greater victim reporting and demonstrate Department and Service progress, the Secretaries of the Military Departments will provide the findings in the [20 14 “Department of Defense Report to the President of the United States on Sexual Assault Prevention and Response”] to all Service members in an interactive manner. Please report your execution plan to the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness by January 30, 2015.
The Report is available here, under the Tab for “Report to the President.” The findings of the Report and the guidance are now being rolled out within DoN. Here is at least one of the presentations that will be making the rounds within DoN and a related guidance memo, here. Here are a few of MilJus highlights from the presentation:
• Commander Accountability – Leaders must cultivate or maintain command climates where improper discrimination of any kind, destructive behaviors and other inappropriate conduct is not tolerated and professionalism is the norm.
• Military Justice System Reforms – Reforms have also expanded legal representation and protections for victims’ interest, rights and privacy.
• Victims’ Legal Counsel – Provides victims a lawyer (not the prosecutor) to represent their specific interests.
The related memo emphasizes the Victim’s Legal Counsel program:
New, groundbreaking legal resource that provides advice and assistance to sexual assault victims in understanding and participating in the military justice system. VLCs, upon request of their clients, advocate on behalf of victims at pre‐trial motions hearings and Article 32 investigations, and are present at courts-martial to answer questions and prepare victims for their testimony.
Other services have similar training being released?
Recent survey data suggest the percentage of Active Duty women who experienced unwanted sexual contact in the past year declined from 6.1 percent in 2012 to 4.3 percent in 2014.
And the DoN guidance to the fleet says:
Rate of Sexual Assault (Prevalence) is DOWN from 2012. This is a positive trend, but by no means indicates a victory. Navy estimates that there were still 5,600 sexual assaults in Navy in FY14 (down from FY12 estimated prevalence of 10,600 incidents).
If you are a math whiz, see if you can discern whether DoD and DoN are using the same metrics to show progress on prevalence of sexual assault. Compare FY14 DoD Report at 57-58 with FY14 DoN Input at 2-3. I am not.