Thursday, August 22, 2013

Sexual Abuse in the Military – a Costly Problem

Brigadier General Carol Ann Fausone (ret.)

The failure to address sexual assault in the military is costing the U.S. billions of dollars per year.

A new study released from the RAND Corporation calculated costs of medical and mental health services that victims of these assaults seek after an incident, as well as other “intangible” costs.  All told, the study believes that these costs reached $3.6 billion last year.

These findings add to a growing sense of urgency surrounding this important problem.  Reports of these incidents have spiked 35% since 2010.  Astoundingly, as many as 26,000 members of the military were sexually assaulted last year.

Currently, military sexual assaults are dealt with through the chain of command.  However, this can result in retaliation from co-workers and might discourage victims from coming forward.  In an attempt to combat this, the U.S. House of Representatives has recently passed a provision providing whistleblower protection to victims of these assaults. 

Additionally, some senators have proposed an amendment taking this process out of the chain of command entirely by creating special military prosecutors in charge of these investigations.

One thing is for sure – all necessary measures need to be taken to stop this atrocious conduct.  It is our duty to protect those who protect us.

If you have questions about this topic or other veteran issues, contact Legal Help For Veterans, a practice group of Fausone Bohn, LLP, at 800.693.4800 or online at 

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