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Senator Collins’ Statement In Response To Annual Department Of Defense Report On Sexual Assault In The Military

Washington, DC: Each year, the Department of Defense provides a report detailing the progress of its sexual assault programs, initiatives, and policy enhancements that have been developed and implemented throughout the prior fiscal year. In the data released today, the report concluded that fewer sexual assaults have occurred within the military in 2014 than in 2012. In addition, the reporting of sexual assaults has increased in all four branches of the Military Services, up 11 percent more than what was received in FY2013 and 70 percent above the number received in FY2012. 

In response to this report, U.S. Senator Susan Collins released the following statement: 
"I am encouraged by the findings of today’s report. The decrease in prevalence of sexual assault within our military coupled with the increase in the reporting of these heinous crimes demonstrate both the effectiveness of bipartisan reform and the growing confidence in the military’s response to sexual assault. 
“For nearly ten years, I have worked diligently to sound the alarm about the crisis of sexual assault in the military, and since 2004, we have successfully adopted bipartisan legislation to combat these crimes. 
“In the past year alone, bipartisan legislation has been enacted that, among other things, strips commanders of the ability to overturn jury convictions; requires civilian review if a commander declines to prosecute a case; and mandates a dishonorable discharge for anyone convicted of sexual assault.  
“Despite these important steps and the encouraging findings of today’s report, the work of translating the military’s stated policy of ‘Zero Tolerance’ into reality remains unfinished business and requires consistent oversight by Congress. 
“There is no question of Congress' commitment to reducing the instances of sexual assault in the military and providing appropriate care for survivors. I will continue to work closely with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make certain that all of our service members have the support and protection they deserve.” 
Ten years ago, as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Susan Collins first raised questions about the ineffective response to the growing numbers of sexual assaults in the military. Since that time, Senator Collins has continued to draw attention to the issue, having authored legislation to improve the services provided to survivors and reform the military justice system.