In March, we reported on a 2017 Department of Defense analysis that found that the U.S. Air Force Academy mismanaged its sexual assault prevention and response program. The report also cited the service academy’s failure to comply with the military’s victim assistance and advocacy policy.
The Academy has now instituted a new policy that encourages cadets to report sexual assaults. The “Safe to Report” policy states that victims should not be punished for “collateral misconduct” such as sneaking off-base or underage drinking. In the past, the fear of collateral misconduct charges has been one of the most significant barriers to reporting the assault. Many victims were afraid to speak out for fear of facing these types of penalties.
Those Who Reported Sexual Assaults Were Subjected to Retaliation
In the memo announcing the new policy, the Academy says that it prohibits “retaliation and ostracism” against sexual assault victims. The earlier Department of Defense report recounted that more than a dozen current and former cadets experienced retaliation by their peers and commanders after they had reported sexual assaults.
A CBS News story that revealed the extent of the sexual assaults reported that allegations were often downplayed or ignored. Those cadets who came forward to report assaults were subject to negative comments on social media, ostracizing and social isolation.
Now commanders have more authority to decide whether collateral misconduct requires corrective actions. The Academy states that the new guidelines should encourage reporting and help avoid unnecessary additional trauma while still maintaining good order and discipline.
Let Us Know if You Are a Victim of Any Type of Sexual Abuse
If you or a family member has experienced sexual assault or sexual harassment of any kind or has been injured in an accident or by any other type of personal injury, or needs help with any employment discrimination or family law issue, please contact the Law Offices of Paul S. Foreman, P.C. immediately. We have the right experience to get the optimal results for your case. Please call us for a free consultation. Attorney Paul S. Foreman, personal injury attorney in Essex County, will fight to secure justice for you and your family. You can reach us at 973-315-3232 or contact us via the website.