We won’t bother with a recap because there are plenty of stories out there summarizing the findings, but here are some links to the Department of Defense’s Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military and related documents. All were released just a few minutes ago. The first three are PDFs, and the report itself is beefy (39MB).
Two studies released in recent days interest to national security reporters:
- Suicide by male veterans aged 18-29 is up dramatically, the VA said in an update of its 2012 report on suicide among veterans. The rate for those seeking care from the VA rose from 40 per 1,000 in 2009 to 58% in 2011, the most recent year for which data is available.
“This is awful and alarming news,” Paul Rieckhoff, the head of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America said.
Overall, the number of veterans taking their own lives has remained steady, at about 22 per day.
Update on the 2012 VA Suicide Report | Original 2012 report | LA Times story | VA release
While 89 percent of military sexual assault investigations reviewd by the Department of Defense Inspector General’s office met standards, 11 percent had “significant deficiences,” a summary of the investigation’s findings that was just released shows. (Read the report).
“Significant deficiencies are key evidence not being collected, crime scenes not examined, and witness or subject interviews not conducted or not thorough. We also found that certain MCIO policies and practices regarding the collection of physical evidence, crime scene examinations, legal coordination, and records checks need improvement,” the report says.
The investigation of a random sample of 501 cases also found the need for “increased emphasis on thoroughness by supervisors, training, and policy improvements.”
“Minor deficiences” were found in 352 of the 501 cases.
Two key recommendations:
- “. . . implement measures to improve crime scene processing, evidence collection, supervision, and documentation to reduce investigative deficiencies.”
- “. . .evaluate existing policies regarding the collection of clothing worn by suspects and victims subsequent to a sexual assault.”
The Associated Press managed to extract from the Department of Veterans Affairs an “accounting” it had done of the impact of sexual assaults in the military.
The lead: “New government figures underscore the staggering long-term consequences of military sexual assaults: More than 85,000 veterans were treated last year for injuries or illness linked to the abuse, and 4,000 sought disability benefits.”
In the final six months of 2011, an average of 248 veterans per month filed for disability benefits related to sexual trauma. The VA said the numbers increased by about a third, to 334 veterans per month in 2012, which officials attributed in part to better screening for the ongoing trauma associated with sexual assault.
Of those who filed in 2012, about two-thirds were women and nearly a third were men.
A Pentagon report released earlier this month (PDF) estimated that 80-90% of assaults go unreported — 26,000 suspected, 3,400 reported in 2012. Some 6.1% of active duty women reported some kind of unwanted sexual contact — up from 4.4% the year before. The number for men was 1.2%, about the same as 2011.
New data from the Pentagon shows a 6% increase in sexual assaults in the military between 2011 and 2012 — 3,374 vs. 3,192 the year before.
Some 6.1% of active duty women reported some kind of unwanted sexual contact — up from 4.4% the year before. The number for men was 1.2%, about the same as 2011.
Today’s release of the annual Department of Defense report on assaults, based on anonymous surveys, comes just days after an Air Force officer with responsibility for an assault prevention unit was arrested in Virginia on sexual assault charges, sparking outrage and fallout in Congress, at the Pentagon and across the country. There have been gobs of stories on the latter incident, as well as the reaction, so we’ll focus instead on making the new report available for review.
Both volumes can be browsed (or downloaded) by visiting our page here, or clicking on the image upper right.
Note: Earlier reports back to 2004 are available here.
Military sexual assaults since 2004. SOURCE: Department of Defense
Some 22% of women in the U.S. military said they have been victims of unwanted sexual contact by someone in the service, and the issues seems to be most significant in the Marine Corps, where 30% — nearly 1 in 3 — women reported unwanted advances. Among men, by comparison, 3.3% said they were victims.
The data is from a final version of a major global, anonymous survey of military personnel done every three years by the Department of Defense, TRICARE and others. About 40,000 participated in the survey, which was done in 2011 but was not made public until a few days ago.
The survey is exhaustive and covers many issues, including substance abuse, stress and mental health, including post-traumatic stress, depression, gender issues, suicide and traumatic brain injury.
Tables below are from the report, which is available in full as a PDF on in our DocumentCloud folder. (The previous report from 2008 is available here.)
Two developments in the past few days in the ongoing problem of sexual assaults in the military:
- USA Today: “About half of women sent to Iraq or Afghanistan report being sexually harassed, and nearly one in four say they were sexually assaulted, according to new research by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“The study — based on anonymous surveys of female servicemembers who deployed to war — suggest a far higher prevalence of sexual misconduct against women in war zones than is reflected by complaints gathered by the various service branches.” FULL STORY
- A Pentagon survey of military academy students shows a 23% uptick in sexual assault since 2011 and assault “continuess to be a persistent problem,” according to the director of the Pentagon’s sexual assault prevention and response office. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called for “a strong and immediate response.”
→ FULL AP STORY
→ PDF OF THE STUDY
→ PENTAGON RELEASE