On Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden signed an executive order making sexual harassment a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). The order also intends to enhance how the US military deals with domestic abuse and the unauthorized dissemination of personal information.
The new EO “establishes sexual harassment as a particular violation under the UCMJ” and “strengthens the military justice response in pursuing acts of domestic abuse,” according to a White House statement. It also “completely implements revisions to the military justice rules to make the wrongful broadcast or dissemination of intimate visual photographs a criminal offense.”
The administration’s efforts to address “gender-based violence” have become “even more crucial” during the COVID-19 outbreak, according to the White House.
The government declared that “today represents another turning point for survivors of gender-based assault in the military.” “Going forward, the Administration will focus on prevention, promoting safe and respected military environments, and bolstering care and support for survivors,” she said.
After a bipartisan group of senators chastised the Pentagon for moving too slowly to combat sexual assault in the US military, the directive was issued.
Eight senators, including three from the Armed Services Committee, wrote to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, expressing their “disappointment and concern” with the department’s “vague approach and lax timeline” in combating sexual assault, citing Austin’s decision to take nearly a decade to implement key aspects of the DoD’s response.
“The men and women who serve in our military cannot continue to function under a chain of command that is unwilling or unable of taking immediate action to address this epidemic for another day, let alone another decade,” the senators wrote. “A issue of this size necessitates a prompt and proportionate reaction.”
The Army had previously stated that by March 2022, it would open seven centers for survivors of sexual assault and harassment as part of a larger effort to improve reporting, case management, and justice.
According to Col. Erica Cameron, who led the redesign of the Army’s Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program, the goal is to improve “accountability, transparency, and efficiency by coordinating all victim response elements, including victim advocates, medical care providers, law enforcement investigators, and criminal prosecutors” under one roof.
“By synchronizing, and in some cases co-locating, these support services, either physically or virtually,” Cameron said, “it will be easier for victims to get the help they need and empower them to navigate what can be an emotional and complex process from the time they make an initial report through case resolution and long-term care and recovery.”
From American Military News - READ ORIGINAL
Some media, including videos, may only be available to view at the original.