Report slams flaws in DoD sex assault program

By Karen Jowers – Staff writer
Posted : Saturday Dec 5, 2009 8:22:44 EST

The Pentagon office charged with oversight of military sexual assault prevention and response policy is not doing an effective job — and responsibility should be placed, at least temporarily, directly in the hands of the deputy secretary of defense, a task force has recommended.  The report by the Defense Department’s Task Force on Sexual Assault in the Military Services, based on 15 months of work and interviews with more than 3,500 people at 60 locations around the world, said the department’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office is not providing policy or oversight for key responsibilities, or interacting with military officials in the field who are accountable on this issue.  Defense officials should revamp the office and provide the expertise necessary to lead and oversee its primary missions of sexual assault prevention, response, training and accountability, the task force said.  Defense Secretary Robert Gates has 90 days to review, comment on and send the congressionally-mandated report to Capitol Hill. The 176-page report was submitted Dec. 1.  “Our recommendations highlight the need for institutional change to more effectively prevent sexual assault and address related issues,” task force co-chair Louis Iasiello said in a statement. “Doing so is not only ethically and morally correct, but also essential to military readiness — all the more critical at this time.”  read more

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