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Air Force releases annual sexual assault report

(U.S. Air Force Graphic)

(U.S. Air Force Graphic)

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Air Force reports of sexual assault increased slightly in fiscal year 2016, according to the service’s annual report on sexual assault released May 1.

The Air Force received 1,355 reports of sexual assault in fiscal 2016, compared to 1,312 in fiscal 2015.

Expressed as a percentage of the total Air Force population, including active duty, Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard, and appropriated fund civilian employees, 0.21% of Airmen reported a sexual assault in fiscal 2016 compared to 0.20% in fiscal 2015 and 0.21% in fiscal 2014, illustrating a flat trend for annual reports over the last three years.

"We must continue to drive a culture of prevention while ensuring victims readily come forward and report sexual assault,” said Acting Secretary of the Air Force Lisa Disbrow. “We must also be an Air Force that provides the care and support victims need while holding offenders accountable."

Prevention of sexual assault is the responsibility of every Airman, said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein.

"It's about trust,” said Goldfein. “The crime of sexual assault shatters trust and has a direct and negative impact on our capabilities as a warfighting force. In my opinion, there is no such thing as a bystander in this fight. We are all in. From the newest Airman to the most senior leader, every one of us has a responsibility to step forward and help stop sexual assault before it happens."

The results of the fiscal 2016 sexual assault report will be compared to data from the Defense Manpower Data Center’s 2016 Workplace and Gender Relations Survey, which is conducted every other year for the active duty service branches. The Air Force uses the Workplace and Gender Relations Survey to measure the prevalence of sexual assault in the force.

The Air Force compares prevalence rates to reporting rates to evaluate Airmen’s confidence in coming forward to report sexual assault and receive support. Ideally, the service wants to eliminate the gap between prevalence of the crime and the number of reports received, then see both numbers come down to zero, said Col. Mark Ramsey, the Air Force Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Operations Director.

“Our goal is to eliminate sexual assault from the Air Force, period,” said Ramsey. “We have leadership engaged at every echelon. We have provided our Airmen with both an awareness of this scourge in our ranks and the bystander intervention tools to engage. Our best chance of eradicating this crime from our Total Force is through strong leadership, being good wingmen, exercising the tools we’ve been given, and keeping true to our core values.”
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