Sexual assault in the military has decreased over the last year, according to a new report published Friday by the Pentagon. The report included the number of sexual assaults reported at U.S. military installations around the world for fiscal years 2013 through 2016.
Produced by the Department of Defense’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, the report includes incidents of sexual assault that were logged via official channels within the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and joint bases; also including combat zones like Iraq and Afghanistan.
The tables are grouped by Service and show the installation where the alleged incident was reported or managed, the type and number of adult sexual assault report allegations, and the Fiscal Year (FY) in which the victim reported the incident.
It is important to note that the location of where a report was made does not necessarily mean the incident occurred at that location. This is because victims of sexual assault in the Department of Defense (DoD) may report a sexual assault at a time and place of their choosing.
The total number of reports in 2016 were similar to the number reported in 2015 across the military branches. Reports of sexual assault have decreased slightly in combat areas, joint bases, the Marine Corps and the Army. The Air Force and Navy recorded an increase in reports; with the Air Force going from 1,009 reports in 2015 to 1,043 in 2016, and the Navy reporting 1,243 in 2015 and 1,285 in 2016.
In the report released on Friday, the Pentagon estimated that 32 percent of service members who experience sexual assault reported the incident in 2006, an increase from 25 percent reporting them in fiscal years 2014 and 2015.
The fact that women feeling more comfortable coming forward is credited for the increase in reports.
According to the press release, the data was published now “due to recent requests for this information under the Freedom of Information Act.” Similarly, a new report issued by the United States Congress Office of Compliance, which details the awards and settlements paid to victims of sexual harassment and other work-related for employees on Capitol Hill, was released early for the same reason.