Number of Reported Assaults Grossly Underestimated
Dallas, TX -- (ReleaseWire) -- 01/19/2015 --A report released by the Department of Defense on Thursday, December 4, 2014 shows that the military is facing a high number of reported sex crimes – a thing that Washington officials like Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel are saying is a positive sign, indicative of the military's improvement in making victims of sex crimes more comfortable in reporting the offenses.
Reported Sex Crimes Higher Than Ever
The released report showed an increase of eight percent in the number of reported sex assault cases in the military. Last year, the number of reported sex crimes in the military was 5,938, compared with 5,518 the year before. Women are much more likely than men in the military to be victims, and despite the fact that women only make up 14 percent of the U.S. Army, the account for 95 percent of all sex crime victims.
Victims Fear Coming Forward
While the reported number of sex crimes has risen dramatically from 2006 – perhaps indicating that victims have a greater trust in the military justice system than every before – the actually number of sexual assault cases that have occurred, both reported and unreported, is overwhelming. According to a 1,100-page study order by President Obama, the number of sex crimes that occurred in 2014 within the military is over 19,000 – a number far greater than the reported 5,938. The pentagon says that the 19,000 is actually a decrease from 2012, in which an estimated number of 26,000 sexual assault crimes occurred. The numbers suggest that the actual number of crimes is declining while the number of reported crimes is increasing, a positive sign.
Another statistic within the document is also troubling: the report published that 62 percent of women in the military who reported being sexually assaulted experienced incidents of professional and social retaliation from colleagues and peers, according to a December 2014 article in The New York Times.
Legislation to Change Military Commanders' Decisions Regarding Sex Crimes Proposed
In March of 2014, the U.S. Senate voted on a bill that would change military commanders' abilities to make decisions about which sexual assault cases would be court-martialed, and which cases would instead go to uniformed prosecutors. Despite receiving 55 votes in favor, the legislation was five votes short of the required amount for passage, with opponents saying that the bill undermined commanders' authority, a risky thing to do within the military. Another vote on the legislation is planned.
New Initiatives Planned to Reduce Number of Sexual Assaults
Last year, Congress passed legislation for new initiatives, which are planned to go into effect in coming months. The initiatives include better training for military lawyers who prosecute sex crimes, more standardized training for the military's sexual assault response coordinators, a longer shelf life for records of sexual assault cases, and the transferring of troops who have been victims of sexual abuse. Many lawmakers are saying that the initiatives aren't significant enough.
A Dallas Sex Crime Defense Attorney Can Help
Facing sexual assault charges as a military member can be disastrous for personal life and career. If you've been charged with a military sex crime in Dallas, Texas, you need an experienced criminal and military defense attorney on your side. Attorney Patrick J. McLain can provide you with the representation you are entitled to. To receive a case consultation today, call us immediately at 469-331-9868.
Patrick J. McLain, Judge Advocate and Attorney at Law
110 West C Street
San Diego, California 92101