Washington: US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel has announced four new directives to prevent sexual assault crimes in the country`s military.
"Eradicating sexual assault from our ranks is not only essential for the long-term health and readiness of the force; it is also about honouring our highest commitments to protect our fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines," Hagel said in a statement on Thursday.
The four directives comprise creating a pilot programme for select installations that will customise prevention efforts, requiring commanders to identify and prevent retaliation, training first-line supervisors to lead sexual assault and prevention programmes, and publicising resources for victims, Xinhua reported.
Preliminary survey data indicate that our efforts are making progress, Hagel said.
According to Hagel, service members in the US military experienced fewer sexual assaults in 2014 than in 2012, an estimated 19,000, down from 26,000.
Although, this is a reduction, there is clearly more work to be done, he added.
In addition, the number of service member victims choosing to report these crimes has also increased by over 50 percent over the same period of time.
This indicates an increased confidence in the department`s ability to support victims, and judge these crimes, Hagel added.