The Defense Department received 3,191 reports of sexual assault last year, Panetta said yesterday. That’s 1 percent more than the 3,158 reported in the previous fiscal year and a 19 percent increase over five years, according to an annual review released in March.
“Because we assume that this is a very underreported crime, the estimate is that the actual number is closer to 19,000,” Panetta told reporters at the Pentagon. “I deeply regret that such crimes occur in the U.S. military, and I will do all that I can to prevent these crimes from occurring.”
Among the new measures to stop what Panetta called an “unacceptable” number of sexual assaults, the military will require its sexual-assault response coordinators and victim advocates to obtain nationally recognized certification and will extend confidential reporting and victim-support services to spouses and dependents.