NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - The number of sexual assault cases reported to the Navy is on the rise.
Rear Admiral Sean Buck was in Norfolk Wednesday morning to talk with dozens of sexual assault response coordinators at their yearly training session. He's director of the Navy's 21st Century Office and is the Navy's sexual assault prevention officer. He later spoke with reporters and said "in fiscal year '12 we had 726 sailors report, either through the unrestricted or restricted means of reporting a sexual assault, and this year we're anticipating upwards of 1,100 reports."
He gave three reasons for the uptick: there's a clearer definition for sailors of sexual assault, a better explanation of the reporting process and quite simply, trust.
"They are appreciative of the training, they're appreciative of the attention from senior leadership and they're very aware of how broad the topic is being discussed in the Navy now from the workplace, all the way up to the Pentagon, all the way up to Capitol Hill," he said.
Meredith Noha, the lead sexual assault prevention coordinator at Naval Station Norfolk told WAVY.com medical, legal, mental health and NCIS services are available to those who report sexual assaults.
"They report being sexually assaulted. We don't need to know the details of their story. We don't need to know what happened in order to give them the support and the service that they need. And knowing that they don't have to give their stories to us often creates that trust automatically."
Rear Admiral Buck summed it up this way, "One sexual assault is one too many. Our goal is to eliminate it from the Navy and I'm very heartened to see this is a goal held by every leader in the Navy."
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