Pentagon discloses data on sexual assault reports on military bases

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USA troops have made nearly 26,000 reports of sexual assault over the last four years, with the highest number of complaints being filed from the Air Force.

Regarding joint military installations, Joint Base San Antonio in Texas - comprising Army, Navy and Air Force operations - numbered 881 sexual assault reports, the highest in the period.

According to the Department of Defense, sexual assaults include rape, forcible sodomy, abusive sexual contact and attempts to commit those crimes.

"One of the features of the department's reporting program is that service members can report allegations of sexual assault at any time and at any place", Nate Galbreath, deputy director of the Pentagon's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, said in a statement. The sexual assault may also have occurred elsewhere, including the civilian sector and/or prior to entering military service.

Still, they said, the prevalence of sex assaults in the military has declined in recent years, from 6.1 percent of active-duty women and 1.2 percent of active-duty men in 2012-13 to 4.3 percent of women and 0.6 percent of men in 2015-16.

The Air Force and Navy were the only two that recorded an increase in reports.

The Pentagon classifies reports of sexual assault as either unrestricted or restricted.

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Previously, during the 2014 fiscal year, SAPRO estimated that only 14 percent of military victims were reporting.

According to DoD's FY16 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military, SAPRO estimates that 32 percent of service members who experienced sexual assault are now reporting to authorities.

Based on military installations, the world's largest Navy base, Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, had 1,055 reported assaults during the four-year fiscal period.

In 2013 at Fort Bragg, a total of 89 reports were received.

Officials at Fort Carson directly attribute the change in reporting systems from fiscal year 2013 to 2014 to the increase in reports at the installation.

Reports of sexual assaults in combat zones have decreased dramatically since 2013, although they increased slightly a year ago, the data show. In joint bases, the number of reports decreased slightly from 705 in 2015 to 670 in 2017. The department reported that prevalence rates among active duty women went from 6.1 percent in 2012 to 4.3 percent a year ago.

An unrestricted report is referred for investigation and the commanders of the service member who made it are notified as well as the alleged suspect or suspects.