Sheppard Air Force Base Responds To DoD Newly Released Sexual Assault Report

Sheppard Air Force Base Responds To DoD Newly Released Sexual Assault Report

Wichita Falls, TX - Military sexual assaults are up from last year. That's according to a new report the Department of Defense released Thursday.

Newschannel 6 reached out to officials at the base about this increasing problem.

On Thursday, United States Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced the results of a report on sexual assault in the military. He first highlighted improvements.

"Two years ago, we estimated about one in ten sexual assaults were being reported.  Today, it's one in four," said Secretary Hagel.

While reports are up an estimated 20,000 service members experienced some form of sexual assault in 2014 and over 60 percent of women who reported it observed some kind of retaliation.

"If someone reports a sexual assault, they need to be embraced and helped, not ostracized or punished with retribution," said Secretary Hagel.

Sheppard Air Force Base told News Channel 6 its Sexual Assault Prevention and Response team has been working to curve that culture.

Earlier this year, Newschannel 6 sat down with Capt. Angela Naval, Deputy Assault Response Coordinator to talk about this ongoing issue.

"It's uncomfortable to even talk about and that's why we're trying to change the attitude that if something has happened and you need to talk there someone out there to talk to," said Naval.

In a statement to Newschannel 6 SAFB officials said, "we believe the rise in reporting represents the greater victim confidence, spurred by the many steps

The DoD has taken to improve the response system." 

Since then, officials at the base say they've implemented several programs such as Healthy Behaviors Intervention Training, Peer-to-Peer Intervention, Volunteer Victim Advocate, and formed a 24/7 Safe Helpline.

Secretary Hagel also announced four directives the department of defense hopes will improve sexual assault prevention and response programs:

(1) Creating a pilot program for select installations that will customize prevention efforts

(2) Requiring commanders to identify and prevent retaliation

(3) Training first-line supervisors to lead to sexual assault and prevention programs, and

(4) Further publicizing resources for victims.

Officials at Sheppard say they will work diligently to see that these directives are put into action.

Jimmie Johnson, Newschannel 6