U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Armed Services Committee, joined two measures today to combat sexual assault in the military in the wake of continuing reports of increased anecdotal and systemic failures to adequately address unwanted sexual contact within the military.
"Rising incidents of sexual assault are unacceptable and require immediate and systemic change in our Armed Forces. Women and men who serve in our military should be confident in their place of work and know this behavior is intolerable," said Kaine. "The stakes are very high for the well-being of current servicemembers and the recruitment of the next generation of military leaders. We must take immediate action to prevent these horrific crimes, punish offenders and ensure survivors have a secure and reliable system to report any unwanted sexual conduct and access the care and support they may need."
Kaine signed on as a co-sponsor of U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill's legislation to reform the Uniform Code of Military Justice in order to place limits and greater oversight on the ability of commanders to overrule sentences and findings of courts-martial. In addition, Kaine has joined as a co-sponsor the Ruth Moore Act of 2013 that will require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to relax the evidentiary standards for military sexual trauma survivors who file disability claims with the VA so they are on par with combat veterans suffering from the same conditions.
Last week, Kaine questioned top United States Air Force officials on the six percent increase of reports of unwanted sexual contact in the military last year. Of sexual assault incidents, one in six are officially reported and only one in ten reported cases proceed to trial.