Today, the Department of Defense released its annual report on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the Military Service Academies. This report assesses the effectiveness of policies, training, procedures and initiatives for Sexual Assault Prevention and Response and Prevention of Sexual Harassment Programs at each Military Service Academy. The SH&V report determined that the Air Force’s Academy is in compliance with all of the Department’s lines of effort, to include prevention, investigation, accountability, advocacy and victim assistance and assessment.
Last academic year (June 2012-May 2013) at USAFA there were 45 reports of sexual assault, to include seven incidents that happened prior to cadet accession. This is down from 52 reported during the same period the previous year. These reports can range from a variety of unwanted actions, to include sexual violence. We remain encouraged by the reporting numbers because we believe it reflects victim confidence in our program. However, our ultimate goal is zero incidents. Prevention and victim care are the cornerstones of our program, and maintaining a climate of dignity andrespect across the institution is central to eliminating sexual assault.
Highlighted initiatives in the SH&V report include USAFA’s use of Air Force Special Victims Counsel attorneys, which empower victims by providing advice and advocacy, the Commandant’s renewed focus on the enforcement of standards, and the development of the Cadet Bystander Intervention Program.
We are encouraged by the results of the report as a whole, but we also realize there is more work to be done. The Air Force’s Academy will use feedback from this report to refine and strengthen a culture of commitment and a climate of respect for all members of the USAFA family.