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DOD: Sex assaults reported to NC military bases jump

Posted November 17, 2017 3:29 p.m. EST
Updated November 17, 2017 10:37 p.m. EST

— The number of sexual assaults reported to officials at North Carolina military bases jumped by 22 percent over the past four years, according to a Department of Defense report released Friday.

Fort Bragg saw the biggest increase, from 89 in 2012-13 to 146 in 2015-16, the report shows. But Camp Lejeune still sees the most reports each year, from 151 in 2012-13 to 169 in 2015-16.

Congress requires the DOD to report the number of sexual assault allegations it receives each year involving service members. Officials emphasized that not all of the alleged incidents occurred on military installations because victims "may report a sexual assault at a time and place of their choosing."

"A report could involve allegations for an incident that occurred while on deployment, while away on leave, or even prior to entering the military," Dr. Nate Galbreath, deputy director of the DOD's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, said in a statement. "This kind of flexibility allows the department to better meet the department's goals to increase reporting of sexual assault and decrease the occurrence of the crime through prevention."

Officials said the higher numbers might be due to a policy of encouraging more people to report sex assaults. Before 2013-14, they said, 15 percent or fewer military victims reported a sexual assault to a military authority, but that rate had more than doubled to 32 percent by 2015-16.

Still, they said, the prevalence of sex assaults in the military has declined in recent years, from 6.1 percent of active-duty women and 1.2 percent of active-duty men in 2012-13 to 4.3 percent of women and 0.6 percent of men in 2015-16.

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Source: U.S. Department of Defense