GAO: Sexual Assault Care Flawed

(Jan. 30, 2013) The military could do a better job caring for the victims of sexual assault, a report released Tuesday by the Government Accountability Office concludes.

An inconsistency exists in how victims who report sexual assault are handled and first responders often are unaware of services available for victims.

The report can be found at www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-182.

The report was released just days after the Pentagon opened most combat roles to women, who had been shut out of such positions and suffered in promotions as a result.

The GAO investigators found that health care providers are not consistent in understanding their duties because the Pentagon “has not established guidance for the treatment of injuries stemming from sexual assault.”

Plus, first responders often fail to complete their required training, which makes the incapable of providing a victim with the types of services available.

“Without having a clearer understanding of their responsibilities, health care providers and first responders will be impeded in their ability to provide effective support for servicewoment who are victims of sexual assault,” the report says.

The report does give high marks, however, for overall health care for women.