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Tags: biden | military | sex | assualt | defense

Biden Supports Creating Special Victims Unit for Military Sexual Offenses

Biden Supports Creating Special Victims Unit for Military Sexual Offenses
(Cheryl Casey/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Friday, 02 July 2021 04:28 PM EDT

President Joe Biden said Friday that he agrees with an independent commission’s report that would take sexual misconduct prosecutions out of the military command structure and replace it with a special victims unit that has more specialized training in handling these types of cases.

''I strongly support (Department of Defense) Secretary (Lloyd) Austin’s announcement that he is accepting the core recommendations put forward by the Military Sexual Assault Independent Review Commission, including removing the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault from the chain of command and creating highly specialized units to handle these cases and related crimes,'' Biden said in a statement Friday.

''Ending violence against women and eliminating sexual assault against any person in our country has been a priority for me throughout my career in public service. Sexual assault is an abuse of power and an affront to our shared humanity. And sexual assault in the military is doubly damaging because it also shreds the unity and cohesion that is essential to the functioning of the U.S. military and to our national defense.''

The commission’s main recommendation is to create a special victim prosecutor that would replace commanders in deciding whether to charge a suspect with a crime, and if so, whether that crime should be tried in a civilian court or a court martial within the military, the report said.

That special prosecutor would be independent from the chains of command of both the victim and the suspect and would be seen as neutral and free from outside pressure.

Biden created the commission, led by The Center for Family Safety and Healing President Lynn Rosenthal, in February and tasked it with advancing the military’s efforts to counter military sexual assault and harassment.

Rosenthal was the first White House adviser on Violence Against Women during the administration of former President Barack Obama from 2009-15.

Austin released the commission’s report Friday which made a total of 82 recommendations in four priority areas including accountability, prevention, climate and culture, and victim care and support.

According to the report, the commission’s review noted several common themes' relating to reports of sexual misconduct in the military, including a feeling of ''broken trust'' between the enlisted soldiers and senior leaders who commanded them.

The commission said this was true ''across the entire (military) enterprise and included all branches of service."

Another key commonality, the report found, is that the current military justice system is not equipped to ''properly respond'' to cases of sexual misconduct or to properly deal with the needs of victims in these cases.

''These crimes are often interpersonal in nature, in which the victim and the alleged offender may have a preexisting relationship or acquaintance,'' the report said. ''Special victims — particularly survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence — deserve all critical decisions about their case to be made by a highly trained special victim prosecutor who is independent from the chain of command.''

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Newsfront
President Joe Biden said Friday that he agrees with an independent commission's report that would take sexual misconduct prosecutions out of the military command structure and replace it with a special victims unit that has more specialized training in handling these types...
biden, military, sex, assualt, defense
484
2021-28-02
Friday, 02 July 2021 04:28 PM
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