Pentagon Group To Examine Child Abuse

NGAUS Washington Report

(Aug. 13, 2013) The Defense Department is putting together a working group to look into the epidemic of child abuse in the military.

The Prevention and Coordinated Community Response to Child Abuse, Neglect and Domestic Abuse Working Group was reported this week in Army Times. The newspaper quoted a Pentagon spokesman as saying the group is part of the military’s effort to strengthen “awareness and prevention efforts to protect children and apply resources to prevent incidents of child abuse, neglect and domestic abuse.”

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., both members of the Senate Armed Services Committee,  wrote to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel asking for a full accounting of child abuse cases in the military and the secretary’s plan to deal with it.

Their inquiry followed an investigation by Army Times that found 29,552 cases of child abuse in the Army between 2003 and 2012, including the deaths of 118 children and 1,400 cases of sexual assault.

The Air Force reported 5,775 cases of child abuse between 2008 and 2012, including 16 deaths and 267 sexual assaults.

The numbers in both services spiked in recent years. Similar statistics were found in the Marine Corps and the Navy, according to the newspaper’s investigation.

The senators want a report from Hagel by Sept. 6.