Training in the U.S. Naval Academy has expanded beyond tactical maneuvers: Several weeks ago, the Academy hosted a sexual assault awareness training. The training included scenario-based questions, interactions between the audience and the military trainers, as well as role-play exercises.
The all-day program was jointly designed by the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Justice. Notably, the trainers also targeted a broader audience than just military service members. A sexual assault victim in the military may consult civilian resources for help, such as a private law firm that focuses on military law. For that reason, the training explored ways to strengthen how civilian and military communities might better work together in responding to sexual assault allegations.
Our law firm has helped many victims of sexual assault evaluate their options and protect their rights. A victim may fear reprisals for coming forward. However, it is important to remember that retaliation for reporting sexual harassment is not permitted under military law.
The Uniform Code of Military Justice provides procedures for an investigation into sexual assault or harassment allegations, as well as a process for either side to present evidence regarding the claim or defense. An orderly process is required because the military's penalties for sexual harassment can be severe, ranging from letters of reprimand to criminal charges or processing for elimination from the service.
Ideally, a lawyer can evaluate strategies for proactively protecting a sexual assault victim's rights. The inquiry begins with a review of the particular military department's guidelines regarding discrimination. Each unit has its chain-of-command procedures, as well. A lawyer can review the complaint and investigation processes to safeguard against errors.
Source: U.S. Dept. of Defense, "Naval Academy Hosts All-Day Sexual Assault Awareness, Prevention Training," Karen Parrish, Sept. 26, 2016