At installations with the highest risk for sexual assault and harassment, “there is a pervasive misunderstanding of what prevention is, how to do it and what it takes to do it well,” according to an in-depth DOD report released last week.
“Although leaders have a genuine desire to prevent harmful behaviors, they are not accurately identifying and addressing the needs of the most at-risk groups or accurately perceiving the level of support they are providing for violence prevention,” the report found.
The report is based on on-site evaluations at 20 DOD sites and builds on the findings of the Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault in the Military, which Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin established when he took office.
The report’s top recommendation is that DOD “should revise and develop policies that support a dedicated primary prevention workforce and institutionalize [on-site evaluations] to ensure enterprise-wide policy compliance and program evaluation.”
It also calls for a forum to share prevention-related data across the military and hold installation leaders and their subordinates accountable for unhealthy work environments.
The report praised the Kentucky National Guard for “a cohesive environment, motivation to improve prevention and a positive work environment. Soldier wellbeing was found to be a part of the mission.”
Austin has signed off on the report’s findings and recommendations, ordering their implementation, he wrote in a letter. Officials said there will be follow-up visits to the bases and that similar reviews will take place every two years, as AP noted.
Army photo by Sgt. Sarah D. Sangster