SEXUAL ASSAULT. DoD and Coast Guard Should Ensure Laws Are Implemented to Improve Oversight of Key Prevention and Response Efforts. Report, GAO-22-103573.
Congress passed 249 statutory requirements directing the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Coast Guard to address prevention of and response to sexual assault incidents, and most remain in force. The statutory requirements covered four broad categories: Victim Assistance and Advocacy (37 percent); Management and Oversight (33 percent); Military Justice and Investigations (21 percent); and Prevention Efforts (9 percent). DOD fulfilled most of these statutory requirements, such as establishing comprehensive policies to prevent and respond to sexual assault as well as training for sexual assault forensic and nurse examiners. However, DOD partially implemented 24 requirements and did not implement 5 requirements. (See figure.) For example, DOD did not report certain information in annual reports; establish and implement an evaluation plan to assess the effectiveness of the outcomes of its programs and activities related to sexual assault prevention and response; or ensure the tracking of commander compliance for conducting organizational climate assessments.
The report notes that "Some of the issues the GAO found date back nearly 20 years to requirements that have since expired without being fulfilled. Others involve repeated failures to satisfy Congress’ specifications." See Chad Garland, Armed services didn’t implement dozens of measures to help stop sexual assault, GAO finds. Stars & Stripes, March 30, 2022.
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