Sexual Assault in the military on the rise - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

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Sexual Assault in the military on the rise

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW)-  A statistic released by the Defense Department Thursday showed a 50% increase in reports of of sexual assault in the military. 

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the increase represents a "clear threat" to service members' lives and well-being.

At Gundersen Health System Thursday, there was training session to raise awareness of the needs of sexual assault victims.

The training helped participants establish partnerships with local military personnel to effectively respond to the needs of sexual assault victims.  Knowledge was built about military systems, protocols, the culture they live and operate in, and what military victims needs when working with community-based systems.

Janis Elder, behavioral health therapist at Gundersen Health System stated, "The more people and voice we have the more change and differences we can make in our society to make it a safe society, not only in our civilian life but also in the military."

Overall, there were 5,061 reports of sexual abuse filed in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, compared with 3,374 in 2012, for a 50 percent increase. About 10 percent of the 2013 reports involved incidents that occurred before the victims joined the military, up from just 4 percent in 2012.

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