Sexual Assault Prevention & Response Campaign Plan

Headquarters Marine Corps
Courtesy Story

Date: 10.17.2013
Posted: 10.17.2013 15:40
News ID: 115309

INTRODUCTION

“Sexual assault is an ugly mark on our proud reputation; it goes against everything we claim to be as United States Marines … it is a crime ... and we will eradicate it from the Corps," said General James F. Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps.

The Marine Corps recognizes that sexual assault is a problem within our ranks and we are taking action now to change our culture to prevent and eliminate this crime. This is not who we are as a Marine Corps. As Marines, we pride ourselves on iron discipline and combat excellence. We know sexual assault damages lives, erodes trust and unit cohesion, and dishonors all Marines past and present. We are accountable as individual Marines and leaders at every level. Americans join our Corps with the faith that we will treat them with dignity and respect, and we will address any misconduct or criminal behavior with swift and fair justice.

Marines must also have confidence that, if assaulted, we will immediately provide compassionate victim support and hold offenders accountable. When it comes to sexual assault prevention, all Marines know we have fallen short.

In June 2012, the Commandant of the Marine Corps initiated the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Campaign Plan outlining the way ahead to combat sexual assault in our ranks. The Campaign Plan is built around engaged leadership at every level and underscores the importance of reaffirming and strengthening the trust between Marines and their leaders. The leadership of the Marine Corps will never relinquish accountability or outsource its leadership responsibilities on this very important issue.

While there is much work to be done, the results of our Commander-led efforts are having an effect. Our true measures of effectiveness are defined by the Secretary of Defense’s five lines of effort: Victim Care/Advocacy, Accountability, Investigations, Prevention, and Assessment. This report provides members of Congress an update on the actions we are taking and the progress we have made.

We will not rest until we eliminate sexual assault from our ranks and regain the trust of our Marines and the American people.


UPDATE ON MARINE CORPS SEXUAL ASSAULT PREVENTION AND RESPONSE INITIATIVES 2013

VICTIM CARE & ADVOCACY

The Marine Corps is wholly committed to providing nonjudgmental, compassionate support to each victim of sexual assault. We designed our victim-centric model to empower Marines as we guide them through a comprehensive response system.

From the initial report, Commanding Officers provide victims continuous care, ensure they are safe and have ready access to recovery resources.

We know that sexual assault is a highly underreported crime and our efforts to eradicate it must begin with reporting. Our recent marked increase in reporting is a measure of success and a first step in eliminating sexual assault from our Corps.

Since the implementation of the Campaign Plan last summer, the Marine Corps has seen a rise in unrestricted and restricted reports, which we believe indicates increased trust in the Marine Corps response system. Reporting is the bridge to victim care and offender accountability.

The ultimate goal of the Marine Corps is to increase reporting while decreasing the prevalence of sexual assault.

Our victim care services and resources are available for all sexual assault victims in the Marine Corps, including those victimized before entering the service - more than 10% of reports* were for incidents that occurred prior to entering the Marine Corps.

*Reports between: Nov. 1, 2012 - June 12, 2013


INITIATIVES

• Established Sexual Assault Response Teams (SART), multidisciplinary first responders who coordinate and provide compassionate victim care

• Implemented a Victim Assessment Survey to measure victim satisfaction with medical, legal, advocacy, counseling, and related services in order to address any shortfalls

• Implemented 24/7 Helplines at every Marine Corps installation to provide victims with immediate access to support

• Increased staffing of SAPR personnel, including additional Sexual Assault Response Coordinators and Victim Advocates, to supplement a workforce of 89 Sexual Assault Response Coordinators and 975 uniformed and civilian Victim Advocates

• All Sexual Assault Response Coordinators and Victim Advocates are credentialed by the National Organization for Victim Assistance as subject matter experts who complete 40 hours of initial advocacy training and 16 hours of continuing education every year

• Established Case Management Groups that hold monthly meetings with service providers and Commanding Officers to ensure victims receive desired care

• Instituted the 8-Day Brief process, a comprehensive checklist to ensure proper victim care within the first 8 days following a report of an incident

Of the female Marines who experienced unwanted sexual contact and reported it, 77% were satisfied with the quality of sexual assault advocacy services they received, compared to only 48% in 2010*.

We are trending in the right direction, but we are not there yet.

*Workplace and Gender Relations Survey (WGRA)

The Marine Corps has seen a rise in sexual assault reports that coincide with the inception of the 2012 SAPR Campaign Plan. We anticipate an increase of approximately 65% in sexual assault reporting for fiscal year 2013. We believe this indicates an increased level of trust between victims and their leaders.


ACCOUNTABILITY

The Marine Corps has stepped out smartly over the last year in holding sexual assault offenders accountable. Comparing January-June 2012 to January-June 2013:

• Sexual offense prosecutions have doubled from 29 to 58

• Sexual offense convictions have increased 157%, from 14 to 36

• Punitive discharges have increased 138%, from 13 to 31

• Cases resulting in confinement of greater than 5 years have almost tripled from 4 to 11

The Marine Corps completely reorganized the legal community, affecting more than 49 different commands and more than 800 legal billets, thus increasing expertise and capacity for prosecuting complex cases. This new regional model ensures enhanced special victim capabilities and allows us to place the right prosecutor on the right case, regardless of location. As a result, the Marine Corps is administering justice more efficiently and fairly than ever.

Comparing January-June 2012 to January-June 2013, sexual offense prosecutions have doubled from 29 to 58. More than 60% of those cases resulted in convictions for sex offenses.

Since 2010, the Marine Corps has prosecuted 28 sexual misconduct cases that civilian jurisdictions declined to prosecute, with a 50% conviction rate.


MARINE CORPS

LEGAL REORGANIZATION

Created innovative Complex Trial Teams,
which are:

• Supervised by a regional trial counsel, a lieutenant colonel with significant litigation experience, education, and demonstrated ability

• Composed of an integrated staff of experienced military prosecutors in the rank of major and captain, criminal investigators, and administrative support

• Trained to handle special victim cases with advanced interview and investigative techniques, including compassionate communication with victims, use of expert witnesses in sexual assault cases, and collaboration with victim advocates

• Reinforced Complex Trial Teams with support from highly qualified experts (HQE) who are seasoned civilian prosecutors with significant litigation experience, education, and demonstrated ability. They provide consultation, case assessments and training for Marine prosecutors in the region

Since July 25, 2013, the Marine Corps has published quarterly public notices of all Special and General Courts-Martial results on www.marines.mil in an effort to increase general deterrence.


As a result of last year’s legal community reorganization, the Marine Corps has increased the number of experienced prosecutors in the rank of major and above from 11 to 25, an increase of 127%.

WE UNDERSTAND THE NATURE OF THE PROBLEM

INVESTIGATIONS

Timely and thorough investigations are vital to responding to reports of sexual assault. Swift, visible action reassures victims that their voices were heard and justice will be delivered. Marine Corps Commanding Officers are required to immediately notify Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) when there is a report of sexual assault. All sexual assault investigations are conducted independent of the chain of command in order to preserve the integrity of the process. NCIS conducts sexual assault investigations that respect the dignity of the victim and protect the due process rights of the alleged offender.
FY2012 DoD Annual Report for Sexual Assault
Unrestricted Reports: 333

36% - Rape and Sodomy
28% - Contacts and Attempts
36% - Aggravated Sexual Assault/Sexual Assault

Regional NCIS Adult Sexual Assault Programs (ASAP) assign specially trained investigators into teams focused on sexual assault investigations, thus creating a surge team response designed to expedite the investigative process.

NCIS Agents are using more compassionate interview techniques, including the Forensic Experiential Trauma Interview (FETI), to increase the amount of evidence that can be collected when an individual experiences stressful and traumatic events.


DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY

INITIATIVES AND ACTIONS TAKEN

• Embedded Criminal Investigation Division (CID) agents within each regional Marine Corps Complex Trial Team are responsible for preparing cases for trial and sentencing by courts-martial

• Authorized the hiring of 54 additional agents and investigative support personnel specially trained to support sexual assault investigations

• Created surge response capabilities by establishing Adult Sexual Assault Programs regionally, thus expediting the investigative process

• Began the Trial Component Training Program that provides senior trial counsels the tools to prepare agents to testify under direct and cross examination

• Launched the NCIS Text and Tip Line, an anonymous tip collection system that provides service members a discreet and secure reporting option


PREVENTION

MARINES WILL STEP IN

When asked whether they would intervene if they saw a fellow servicemember getting drunk at a party who is about to fall victim to sexual assault, Marines overwhelmingly responded that they would step in to take action.*

1% - Do nothing
4% - Leave to avoid situation
95% - Take some type of action to stop sexual assault

*Summarized from Q87 2012 DMDC

The prevention of sexual assault begins with recruitment and continues throughout a Marine’s career. From peer-to-peer interaction to engaged leadership at the highest levels of command, we are actively generating awareness about what constitutes healthy relationships. Our holistic training strategy emphasizes the importance of bystander intervention through the use of ethical discussion groups designed to reduce stigma and to promote candid small group conversations about prevention.

Ultimately, Commanding Officers are accountable for setting a climate of trust and confidence that sexual assault will not be tolerated.

When given a scenario, 88% of male Marines and 93% of female Marines said that they would actively intervene to prevent a sexual assault from occurring, up 11% and 2% respectively from 2010.*

*Workplace and Gender Relations Survey (WGRA)

We are a band of brothers and sisters, committed to protecting each other and accomplishing the mission.


MARINE CORPS SEXUAL ASSAULT PREVENTION AND RESPONSE
INITIATIVES AND ACTIONS TAKEN

• The Commandant and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps traveled across three continents to personally make Marines aware of the severity of this problem, set expectations, and demand accountability

• Implemented the 2012 SAPR Campaign Plan, a three-phase strategy outlining large-scale initiatives, including Corps-wide training, legal reorganization, and enhanced victim care

• Published directive policy letters from the Commandant of the Marine Corps providing guidance to all Marines regarding the issues of sexual assault, engaged leadership, and positive command climate

• Convened leadership summits for all Commanding Generals, Commanding Officers, and Senior Enlisted Advisors, to focus on eliminating sexual assault and to ensure accountability and a positive command climate

• Convened General Officers and Sergeants Major symposia, to initiate the top-down approach of the CMC’s 2012 SAPR Campaign Plan through engaged leadership at all levels

• Instituted standardized SAPR training Corps-wide, emphasizing bystander intervention and the inherent duty of all Marines to prevent sexual assault

• Produced three personal videos featuring the Commandant and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps on sexual assault prevention

• Enhanced chaplain training, emphasizing victim care and advocacy

• Implemented CMC-directed Command Climate Survey to identify high-risk trends and toxic leaders within a unit

• Produced the “Lost Honor” video, featuring convicted sexual assault offenders, to serve as a deterrent and supplemental training product for Commanders to use

ASSESSMENT

Marines’ feedback helps measure our efforts to create a positive command climate and ensure victim satisfaction with all available supportive services. Surveys and other assessment tools have identified periods of vulnerability for Marines. We know:

• 91% of victims are in the grades of E-1 to E-4

• 50% of offenders are in the grades of E-2 to E-5

• 60% of sexual assaults occur between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.

• 72% of sexual assaults occur in the operating forces

• 54% of sexual assaults occur on base

• 53% of sexual assault incidents occur within the first year at a new assignment


Recognizing the periods of vulnerability, we developed values-based training for all Marines and recruits to increase prevention and bystander intervention. New training in Delayed Entry Program, Recruit Training and entry-level schools address sexual assault, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, alcohol abuse and hazing. Recruits and candidates are required to sign a Statement of Understanding, affirming acceptance of the Marine Corps’ ethos.

With only one in four Marines remaining in the Marine Corps past their first-term enlistment or contract, we are also creating a new training package specifically designed for the needs of initial enlistment Marines.

We are collecting best practices from commands across the Marine Corps (i.e. curfew, buddy-system, morning formations) for consideration of Corps-wide implementation.


The Fiscal Year 2012 DoD Annual Report found that men and women between the ages of 18 and 24 are most at-risk for sexual assault, as both victims and offenders. The Marine Corps is a young service, with approximately 62% of our total force between the ages of 17 and 25.

THE YOUNGEST ARE MOST AT-RISK*

(by age)

(17-19) - 13.29%
(20) - 10.71%
(21-25) - 38.12%
(26-30) - 18.25%
(31-40) - 15.55%
(41-50) - 3.91%
(51-60) - 0.16%
(60+) - 0.01%

*M&RA Manpower Performance Indicators, June 2013

MARINE CORPS SEXUAL ASSAULT PREVENTION AND RESPONSE

MORE INITIATIVES AND ACTIONS TAKEN


• Victim Assessment Survey: The Marine Corps developed a new survey to assess victim satisfaction with supportive services, including medical, legal, counseling, and related services.

• SAPR 8-Day Brief: This new mandatory brief is a comprehensive checklist used by every Commanding Officer to ensure proper victim care within the first 8 days following the incident. The SAPR 8-Day Brief is recognized as a best practice and was adopted by the Department of Defense because it assures: standardized victim care, Commanding Officer accountability to the General Officer-level, and trend identification. Commanding Officers brief the first General Officer in the chain of command who, in turn, provide quarterly updates to the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps. The Commandant, Assistant Commandant, and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps hold Commanding Officers and enlisted leaders at all levels accountable for victim care.

• Inspector General Actions: The Inspector General provides candid, objective, and uninhibited feedback to commands regarding command climate and investigates allegations of misconduct.

• Defense Equal Opportunity Management Organizational Climate Survey (DEOMI): This survey is required within 90 days of a Commanding Officer’s assumption of command and annually thereafter. Results are reported to the next higher officer in the chain of command.

• Commandant's Command Climate Survey: In July 2013, the Commandant of the Marine Corps directed all Marines to complete this survey 30 days after a new Commanding Officer assumes command and annually thereafter. Results are briefed to the next higher Commanding Officer/Commanding General.

The Commandant has, and will continue to hold Commanding Officers accountable for maintaining a healthy command climate.


SUMMARY

“The Marine Corps has not spent the last 10 years defending our nation’s high principles abroad only to permit this type of shameful behavior within our own ranks. We would not allow the enemy to assault one of our Marines in combat, and we will NOT allow this enemy to persist within our ranks! We are a Corps of committed and courageous warriors dedicated to removing this stain from our honor, protecting our Marines and regaining the trust of the American people," General James F. Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps

All leaders, both officer and enlisted, are responsible for ensuring the safety and well-being of our Marines. Sexual assault is completely incompatible with our core values and directly undermines readiness, unit cohesion and morale. Engaged, concerned and accountable Commanding Officers are central to the effort to solve this problem.

The abilities of Commanding Officers to use their entire authority under the Uniformed Code of Military Justice must be maintained if we are to fully attack this problem.

We know this is a long battle against a serious problem that affects both the military and American society at large. The involvement of Commanding Officers and constructive dialogue will continue to be our greatest weapons.

We do not tolerate sexual assault within our ranks. Our collective efforts will ensure every Marine knows it is their duty to step up and step in to stop sexual assault. The road ahead is long, but our commitment to combat sexual assault remains steadfast and unrelenting. With the guidance of our Commandant and the continued support of Congress and the American people, we will prevail.

Engaged leadership is the key to changing the culture. It is the ultimate responsibility of every Commanding Officer to ensure good order and discipline within our ranks. Marine Corps Commanding Officers are fully accountable for the entire spectrum of these sacred duties. We will never outsource the leadership responsibilities of our Marine Corps.

Note: The Sexual Assault Prevention & Response Campaign Plan outlines the Marines Corps actions to prevent and eliminate sexual assault from its ranks. All figures and statistics were updated as of June 30, 2013.