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    Subject Term: "Sexual assaults"

    8 publications with a total of 29 open recommendations including 3 priority recommendations
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    4 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: The Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness should fully include in the new policy for sexual harassment the principles in the Centers for Disease Control's framework for sexual violence prevention, including risk and protective factors, risk domains, and tertiary strategies. (Recommendation 1)

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its written comments on the draft report, DOD concurred with this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness should include in the new policy for sexual harassment mechanisms for anonymous reporting of incidents consistent with section 579 of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2013. (Recommendation 2)

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In its written comments on the draft report, DOD concurred with this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness should (1) direct the Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity to develop standard data elements and definitions for maintaining and reporting information on sexual harassment incidents at the military service level, and (2) direct the military services to incorporate these data elements and definitions into their military service-specific databases. (Recommendation 3)

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In its written comments on the draft report, DOD partially concurred with this recommendation and stated that while a 2013 policy memorandum provides standard data elements and definitions, the services collect other data elements based on their unique needs. DOD stated that the Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity will conduct a review to determine compliance with DOD reporting requirements and identify emerging policy modifications or changes/additions to standard definitions.
    Recommendation: The Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness to incorporate in its continuum of harm prevention strategy all the elements that are key for establishing a long-term, results-oriented strategic planning framework. The elements are (1) a mission statement, (2) long-term goals, (3) strategies to achieve goals, (4) external factors that could affect goals, (5) use of metrics to gauge progress, and (6) evaluations of the plan to monitor goals and objectives. (Recommendation 4)

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its written comments on the draft report, DOD concurred with this recommendation.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that program staff are being used in an effective and efficient manner, and to facilitate the consideration and identification of total force solutions for staffing sexual assault prevention and response and Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) programs throughout the Department of the Army, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army, in coordination with the Chiefs of the National Guard Bureau and the Army Reserve, to conduct an evaluation of staffing approaches used to administer the sexual assault prevention and response program, and consider opportunities to leverage resources across all Army components. This evaluation should include an assessment of the number and allocation of full-time and collateral-duty personnel, the fill rates for program positions, and the types of positions used.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that Army National Guard and Army Reserve program staff have the necessary information to develop their budgets and to help ensure the efficient and effective use of program funds, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to direct the Army National Guard SHARP Program Office to communicate and disseminate its guidance on budget development and execution for the SHARP program to all full-time SHARP program personnel.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that Army National Guard and Army Reserve program staff have the necessary information to develop their budgets and to help ensure the efficient and effective use of program funds, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to direct the Army Reserve SHARP Program Office to develop clear guidance on budget development and execution for the SHARP program and disseminate this guidance to its full-time SHARP program personnel.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that Army National Guard and Army Reserve program staff have the necessary information to develop their budgets and to help ensure the efficient and effective use of program funds, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to direct the Director of the Army SHARP Program Office to expand the scope of the midyear review to include monitoring and providing oversight of SHARP program expenditures at the Army National Guard state and Army Reserve command level.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that sexual assault crimes involving Army National Guard members are investigated in a timely manner, with a full investigation of the offense regardless of the reserve component or duty status of the victim, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, in collaboration with the secretaries of the military departments as appropriate, to reassess the Office of Complex Administrative Investigation's (OCI) timeliness and resources to determine how to improve the timeliness of processing sexual assault investigations involving members of the Army National Guard, and identify the resources needed to improve the timeliness of these investigations.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that victims of sexual assault in the Army Reserve have timely access to medical and mental health-care services without having to pay for their care upfront, if they are eligible for care paid for or provided by DOD, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to direct the Chief of the Army Reserve to develop and implement an expedited line-of-duty determination process for Army Reserve sexual assault victims, along with a method for tracking the length of time to make the determinations. When developing this process, the Chief should ensure that it allows soldiers who wish to file a confidential or restricted report to go through the determination process without disclosing their circumstances to the chain of command.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Gretta L. Goodwin
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    2 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To enhance the clarity and transparency of sexual violence data that is reported to the public, the Secretary of Education should direct the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Postsecondary Education, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Attorney General should direct the Director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics to make information on the acts of sexual violence and contextual factors that are included in their measurements of sexual violence publicly available. This effort could entail revising their definitions of key terms used to describe sexual violence so that the definitions match the measurements of sexual violence.

    Agency: Department of Justice
    Status: Open

    Comments: In October 2016, OJP's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) reported that beginning with reports and data files released in calendar year 2017, BJS plans to provide additional information on how sexual violence is defined, to ensure that the measures and definitions are clear and consistent, to improve understanding by users at all levels. Furthermore, BJS reported that they will provide definitions and the exact computer code used to construct the measures of sexual violence. Further, according to BJS, in October 2016 the Acting Director of BJS established an internal Rape and Sexual Assault working group tasked with assessing all BJS data collections; identifying any differences that may exist across data collection efforts; consulting with other federal agencies and subject matter experts; and making recommendations to the Acting Director of BJS to correct any issues identified. The working group met monthly through February 2017, and was comprised of a senior statistical advisor, a statistical policy advisor, and statistical staff from the Victimization Statistics, Corrections Statistics, and Institutional Research and Special Projects units within BJS. In August 2017, BJS officials reported that they are planning to release the 2016 Criminal Victimization Bulletin in late 2017 with additional information on the definition of sexual violence. Also the Rape and Sexual Assault working group provided a detailed set of recommendations to the BJS Acting Director and BJS has convened the working group to develop an implementation plan. BJS stated that their next update would be in early CY 2018 to allow for the release of the report and details on the implementation plan.
    Recommendation: To help lessen confusion among the public and policy makers regarding federal data on sexual violence, the Director of OMB should establish a federal interagency forum on sexual violence statistics. The forum should consider the broad range of differences across the data collection efforts to assess which differences enhance or hinder the overall understanding of sexual violence in the United States.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In March 2017, OMB stated that the Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics and the Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working together to conduct research on how data collection methodologies, including how questions are asked, affect the measurement of sexual violence in the context of each agency's programmatic needs. OMB reiterated that this research is not far enough along to warrant the investment of resources to establish a formal interagency working group. OMB stated that it has taken steps to enhance collaboration among the agencies, including facilitating discussion of data collection parameters that affect sexual violence reporting. This recommendation was included in the 2017 DOF report, and in August and September 2017, GAO reached out to OMB for the status on their efforts to address the recommendation. As of 9/18/17, OMB had not responded to inquiries.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance and to promote more consistent oversight of efforts within the department to address the incidence of hazing, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to regularly monitor the implementation of DOD's hazing policy by the military services.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 2017, DOD indicated that it was working on an anti-hazing directive and that it has a hazing/bullying working group-both of which may facilitate more regular monitoring of service implementation of DOD's hazing policy. However, we are unable to assess whether regular monitoring of policy implementation is taking place until the policy is published. We will continue to monitor DOD's efforts and update the status of this recommendation as more information becomes available.
    Recommendation: To enhance and to promote more consistent oversight of efforts within the department to address the incidence of hazing, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to require that the Secretaries of the military departments regularly monitor implementation of the hazing policies within each military service.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 2017, DOD indicated that it was working on an anti-hazing directive and that it has a hazing/bullying working group-both of which may facilitate more regular monitoring of service implementation of DOD's hazing policy. However, we are unable to assess whether regular monitoring of policy implementation is taking place until the policy is published. We will continue to monitor the services' efforts and update the status of this recommendation as more information becomes available.
    Recommendation: To promote greater visibility over the extent of hazing in DOD to better inform DOD and military service actions to address hazing, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in collaboration with the Secretaries of the Military Departments, to evaluate prevalence of hazing in the military services.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 2017, DOD had added questions to its survey that would facilitate an evaluation of prevalence but had not yet conducted the evaluation. We will continue to monitor DOD's efforts and update the status of this recommendation as more information becomes available.
    Recommendation: To promote greater visibility over the extent of hazing in the Coast Guard to better inform actions to address hazing, the Commandant of the Coast Guard should evaluate the prevalence of hazing in the Coast Guard.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Coast Guard
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of January 2018, the Coast Guard has surveyed servicemembers on hazing and plans to, but has not yet conducted an evaluation of prevalence. We will continue to monitor the Coast Guard's efforts and update this recommendation as more information becomes available.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness of DOD's strategy for preventing sexual assault in the military, as part of the department's next biennial update to the 2014-16 sexual-assault prevention strategy, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in conjunction with the Secretaries of the military departments, to link sexual-assault prevention activities with desired outcomes.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of October 2017, DOD is still in the process of implementing this recommendation. We will update the status of this recommendation when more information becomes available.
    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness of DOD's strategy for preventing sexual assault in the military, as part of the department's next biennial update to the 2014-16 sexual-assault prevention strategy, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in conjunction with the Secretaries of the military departments, to identify risk and protective factors for all of its domains, including the military community and its leaders.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of October 2017, DOD is still in the process of implementing this recommendation. We will update the status of this recommendation when more information becomes available.
    Recommendation: To help ensure widespread adoption and implementation of DOD's sexual-assault prevention strategy and to fulfill its role as a framework that can assist leaders and planners in the development of appropriate tasks, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in conjunction with the Secretaries of the military departments, to communicate and disseminate DOD's prevention strategy and its purpose to the appropriate levels of program personnel as well as their roles and responsibilities for its implementation.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of October 2017, DOD is still in the process of implementing this recommendation. We will update the status of this recommendation when more information becomes available.
    Recommendation: To help improve DOD's ability to measure the effectiveness of the department's efforts in preventing sexual assault in the military, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in collaboration with the Secretaries of the military departments, to fully develop the department's performance measures for the prevention of sexual assault so that the measures include all key attributes of successful performance measures.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of October 2017, DOD is still in the process of implementing this recommendation. We will update the status of this recommendation when more information becomes available.
    Recommendation: To help ensure widespread adoption and implementation of DOD's sexual-assault prevention strategy and to fulfill its role as a framework that can assist leaders and planners in the development of appropriate tasks, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in conjunction with the Secretaries of the military departments, to ensure the military services' Sexual Assault Prevention and Response policies are aligned with the department's prevention strategy.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of October 2017, DOD is still in the process of implementing this recommendation. We will update the status of this recommendation when more information becomes available.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to prevent sexual assaults of male servicemembers, to increase its responsiveness to male servicemembers who are sexually assaulted, and to help DOD's sexual assault prevention and response program realize the full benefit of the data it collects on sexual assault incidents, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in collaboration with the Secretaries of the military services, to develop a plan for data-driven decision making to prioritize program efforts.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In October 2016, DOD published its plan for preventing and responding to sexual assaults of military men. In that plan, DOD generally outlined its intent to develop metrics to assess prevention and response efforts pertaining to males who experience sexual assault. However, as of October 2017, DOD had not updated its plan to demonstrate how it planned to use data-driven decision making to prioritize program efforts. We will continue to monitor DOD's efforts and update this recommendation as more information becomes available.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to prevent sexual assaults of male servicemembers, to increase its responsiveness to male servicemembers who are sexually assaulted, and to address challenges faced by male servicemembers as DOD continues to seek to transform its culture to address sexual assault, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in collaboration with the Secretaries of the military services, to develop clear goals with associated metrics to drive the changes needed to address sexual assaults of males and articulate these goals, for example in the department's next sexual assault prevention strategy.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of October 2017, officials in DOD's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO) indicated that efforts are ongoing to address our recommendation that they develop clear goals with associated metrics to drive changes needed to address sexual assault of males. We will continue to monitor DOD's efforts and will update this recommendation as more information becomes available.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to prevent sexual assaults of male servicemembers, to increase its responsiveness to male servicemembers who are sexually assaulted, and to address challenges faced by male servicemembers as DOD continues to seek to transform its culture to address sexual assault, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in collaboration with the Secretaries of the military services, to include information about the sexual victimization of males in communications to servicemembers that are used to raise awareness of sexual assault and the department's efforts to prevent and respond to it.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of October 2017, officials in DOD's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO) indicated that efforts are ongoing to address our recommendation that they include information about the sexual victimization of males in communications to servicemembers that are used to raise awareness of sexual assault. We will continue to monitor DOD's efforts and will update this recommendation as more information becomes available.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to prevent sexual assaults of male servicemembers, to increase its responsiveness to male servicemembers who are sexually assaulted, and to address challenges faced by male servicemembers as DOD continues to seek to transform its culture to address sexual assault, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in collaboration with the Secretaries of the military services, to revise sexual assault prevention and response training to more comprehensively and directly address the incidence of male servicemembers being sexually assaulted and how certain behavior and activities--like hazing--can constitute a sexual assault.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of October 2017, officials in DOD's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO) indicated that efforts are ongoing to address our recommendation that they revise sexual assault prevention and response training to more comprehensively and directly address the incidence of male servicemembers being sexually assaulted. We will continue to monitor DOD's efforts and will update this recommendation as more information becomes available.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to prevent sexual assaults of male servicemembers, to increase its responsiveness to male servicemembers who are sexually assaulted, and to help ensure that all of DOD's medical and mental health providers are generally aware of any gender-specific needs of sexual assault victims, and that victims are provided the care that most effectively meets those needs, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs should, in collaboration with the services' Surgeons General, systematically evaluate the extent to which differences exist in the medical and mental health-care needs of male and female sexual assault victims, and the care regimen, if any, that will best meet those needs.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs)
    Status: Open

    Comments: We contacted DOD in October 2017 on the status of their efforts to address this recommendation but have not received a response. We will continue to monitor DOD's efforts and will update this recommendation when more information becomes available.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to prevent sexual assaults of male servicemembers, to increase its responsiveness to male servicemembers who are sexually assaulted, and to help ensure that all of DOD's medical and mental health providers are generally aware of any gender-specific needs of sexual assault victims, and that victims are provided the care that most effectively meets those needs, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs should, in collaboration with the services' Surgeons General, develop and issue guidance for the department's medical and mental health providers--and other personnel, as appropriate--based on the results of this evaluation that delineates these gender-specific distinctions and the care regimen that is recommended to most effectively meet those needs.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs)
    Status: Open

    Comments: We contacted DOD in October 2017 on the status of their efforts to address this recommendation but have not received a response. We will continue to monitor DOD's efforts and will update this recommendation when more information becomes available.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order for the military services to obtain more comprehensive and detailed information regarding sexual assault prevention and response during basic and subsequent career-specific training to help oversee their programs, the Secretary of Defense should direct each military service, in collaboration with the Director of DOD's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, to develop and implement a tool, such as a survey, or leverage existing military training surveys--such as those used by the Air Force or the Navy--that will provide more comprehensive and detailed information to decision makers about sexual assault and other sexual misconduct that occur during initial military training, including basic and subsequent career-specific military training.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with the recommendation to develop and implement a survey, or leverage existing military training surveys, which will provide more comprehensive and detailed information to decision makers about sexual assault and other sexual misconduct that occurs during initial military training, including basic and subsequent career-specific military training. In its written comments, DOD stated that the department values the intent of this recommendation; but stated that more analysis needs to be conducted to determine the best tool or methodology to meet the intent of this recommendation and reduce the negative impact of possible survey fatigue. As of August 2017, DOD requires each service to respond about actions taken in response to this recommendation in its enclosure to the department's annual report on sexual assault. While the Navy and Air Force continue to survey recruits and technical training students, the Marine Corps and Army have not implemented surveys. As such, this recommendation will remain open and we will monitor the response of the Army and Marine Corps in next year's annual report.
    Director: Williamson, Randall B
    Phone: (206)287-4860

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help identify risks and address vulnerabilities in physical security precautions at VA medical facilities, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Under Secretary for Health to require relevant medical center stakeholders to coordinate and consult on (1) plans for new and renovated units, and (2) any changes to physical security features, such as closed-circuit television cameras.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.