Washington, D.C. – Today Congressman Kevin Cramer announced the passage of a bill he cosponsored in the U.S. House of Representatives which guarantees protections for victims of sexual assault in the military. H.R. 1864 adds rape, sexual assault, and other sexual misconduct to the list of protected communications between military personnel and Members of Congress or an Inspector General, and requires an investigation into any allegations of retaliatory personnel actions taken in response to such communications. The bill passed with a vote of 423 to 0.
“Today we took unanimous action in the House of Representatives to protect the victims of these terrible acts as they seek safety and justice. These greater protections for reporting within the chain of command will also act as a deterrent to any potential perpetrators,” said Cramer. “We also incorporated the entire language of this bill into the National Defense Authorization Act when it passed earlier this month, which gives the Senate two chances to take up the legislation.”
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), passed on June 14, fully incorporated H.R. 1864 and additionally included substantial reforms designed to reduce the rate of military sexual assault by strengthening the reporting, investigation, and punishment for such cases. The Act strips military commanders of their authority to dismiss or reduce guilty findings from a court martial, establishes mandatory minimum sentences for those who are found guilty of sexual assault related offenses, and gives increased flexibility for both relocating victims of sexual assault to a different station or unit, and reassigning the alleged perpetrators.
Sexual assault in the military continues to be prevalent. The Pentagon estimates up to 26,000 members of the military may have been sexually assaulted last year.