August 13, 2008 – The Army will conduct a summit Sept. 8-12 in Alexandria, Va., to help train the personnel who manage its Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program.
The summit will refocus the overall direction of the program and center on sexual assault prevention, risk reduction and fellow soldier intervention, according to a press release. It will include national subject matter experts, senior Army leaders and their Sexual Assault Program managers, and Army training developers.
“The goal of our Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program is to create a climate where soldiers live the Army values, thereby eliminating incidents of sexual assault,” Army Secretary Pete Geren said in a statement. “Soldiers must understand that they can report incidents when they do occur, without fear, knowing they will receive the help and care they deserve, and leaders must ensure that offenders receive appropriate action.”
In June, Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey issued an internal Armywide message that said sexual assaults “continue to occur at an unacceptable rate.” The message said the Army in 2007 accounted for more assaults than the Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force combined.
There were 1,516 reported cases of sexual assault in 2007 among 590,000 active and mobilized soldiers, a rate of 2.6 assaults for every 1,000 soldiers, according to the message.
The message went on to announce that Casey and Geren had directed the Army G-1 to lead a general officer steering committee to review the Army’s Sexual Assault Prevention Action Plan.
In addition, the Army is finalizing a range of new programs focused on addressing negative social influencers, increasing peer-to-peer bystander intervention, teaching soldiers how to stop assaults before they occur and aligning all prevention measures with the Army values.
Details of these new initiatives will be announced at the summit.
“Sexual assault is a crime and has no place in the Army,” Geren said. “The Army must continue to address sexual assault issues aggressively to maintain a mission-ready fighting force, with all members looking out for the welfare of their teammates.”