House Approves Inclusion of Kuster Amendment to Address Military Sexual Assault in Department of Defense Appropriations Bill
(Washington, DC) – Today, an amendment offered by Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) was approved for inclusion in the Department of Defense (DoD) appropriations legislation. Kuster’s amendment will fund the study of what the military calls “collateral misconduct” – violations of often minor military offenses discovered during the investigation of sexual violence after reported by survivors. A RAND survey of military members who survived sexual assaults but refused to report the attacks found 22 percent feared being punished for collateral misconduct.
“For far too long, service members have survived sexual assaults only to suffer in silence,” said Kuster. “They’ve refused to bring their assailants to justice and receive medical attention, not because they fear their attacker but because they fear a military policy, which requires their commanders to punish them for minor violations. I hope that this study will enable the military to make reforms to ensure that no survivor of sexual assault fears coming forward.”
Despite the comparatively inconsequential nature of offenses, collateral misconduct is “one of the most significant barriers” to service members reporting sexual assaults, according to the Department of Defense’s own policy, which has been in place since 2004. This funding will support a first-ever study to be conducted by Defense Advisory Committee on Investigation, Prosecution, and Defense of Sexual Assault in the Armed Forces, otherwise known as the DAC-IPAD.