Sexual assault prevention discussed

During the recent VA Advisory Committee on Disability Compensation meeting, Bette Stebbins of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office provided an update on the office, which was established in 2004 and reports to the deputy undersecretary of Defense.

In fiscal 2009, there were 3,230 DoD reports of sexual assault in the military. The current challenges are underreporting, data collection, victim reporting verification and victim's private communication. There are two types of reporting: restricted and unrestricted. Unrestricted are the most common types of reporting; the command and investigative services are notified and treatment is immediately provided. The benefits of restrictive reporting are it allows the victim to confidentially report a rape to VA upon discharge.

The office is currently developing a Defense Sexual Assault Incident Database that it expects to be fully operational in one year. The goal of the database is to have all service reporting feed into the database to catalog names, Social Security numbers, dates, types of report services offered and services received.

The American Legion will be scheduling a meeting with the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program Office in the near future.


  1. I am very happy that the VA and the Government in Washington are finally doing somethong about this issue. When I was in the service during the Vietnam Era, men in the service felt it was their right to rape women. I was one of them but because of the way women who claimed rape were treated, I did not ome forward. Perhaps this is the case with the unreported cases now.
  2. I am an active duty NYS Air National Guard member, trained Air Force Victim Advocate and newly voted Commander of my local American Legion...If the legion is getting involved with this, I would like to be involved. I have been very disheartened at the Military's response to Sexual Assault..forming a committee and "educating" first responders is not enough. You have to actually believe in what you're doing and not be afraid to really prosecute offenders and defend and protect victims.
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