March 06, 2014

Crapo, Risch Vote To Address Assault And Rape In The Military

Members of the Armed Forces should never be subject to sexual assault or abuse; Senate advances military sexual assault legislation

Washington, D.C. - Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch voted today to enact new measures to increase protections for military personnel from sexual assault.  The Victims Protection Act was introduced by Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire), Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) and Deb Fischer (R-Nebraska).  This measure empowers victims, increases protections against retaliation for reporting sexual traumas and further increases accountability in the military justice system.  With Crapo and Risch's support, the Ayotte-McCaskill-Fischer measure moves forward following today's successful procedural vote.

"Just as in the civilian world, where we continue to make tremendous progress in increasing awareness about and combatting domestic and sexual violence, we should enhance the protection for service personnel and aid victims, punish offenders and deter future violence," Crapo said.  "Service members make great sacrifices to our nation, and we must ensure our military responds forcefully to end sexual violence wherever it occurs.  I have heard from passionate supporters on all sides of the debate on how to address this issue within our Armed Forces.  At no point in time was there a question of if something should be done, but rather how to address the issue in a way that provides increased support for victims, improves their access to justice and works to change military culture to be absolutely intolerant of sexual assault." 

"As a former prosecutor I feel very strongly that criminals should be punished for their crimes and all parties involved be held accountable," said Risch.  "This legislation will provide greater protections to victims of sexual assault within the military by making it easier to report and prosecute sexual assault crimes without fear of consequence on the part of the victim. It will make military leaders even more accountable when it comes to setting an appropriate command climate and addressing sexual assault without undermining the integrity of the military's chain of command."

Crapo and Risch commend the work of their colleagues Senators Ayotte, McCaskill and Fischer for their tireless work on this issue.  The Idaho senators also appreciate and acknowledge the work of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) who has been at the forefront of bringing much-need attention to this matter. 

Crapo and Risch reiterate that they will continue to work with colleagues so that members of the military are protected from sexual violence and are supported when sexual trauma does occur.