Sex Assault Reports in U.S. Military Up 24 Percent
"Studies show that sexual assault is the most underreported violent crime in society."
-Cynthia Smith, a Pentagon spokeswoman
The question is, will action be taken?
Reports of sexual assaults involving members of the US military increased by 24 percent in 2006 over the previous year, the Pentagon reported Wednesday.
In an annual report to Congress, the Pentagon said the increase may have been due to a change in the military's policy, allowing victims to report alleged assaults confidentially.
"There were 2,947 total reports of alleged sexual assault cases involving members of the armed forces," the report said.
"Reports increased by 24 percent from 2005, which may reflect victims' increased confidence in the reporting structure," it said.
But the report said the extent to which the new policy encouraged more service members to report sexual assaults was not clear since 2006 was the first full year it was in effect.
In total, 756 reports of sexual assaults were made confidentially in 2006 compared to 435 the previous year.
Criminal investigations were completed on 2,277 sexual assault reports and commanders took action in 780 cases. There were 292 court martials, most of them from cases reported in 2005, the report said.