Targeting Alcohol Misuse: A Promising Strategy for Reducing Military Sexual Assaults?
RAND NATIONAL DEFENSE RESEARCH INST SANTA MONICA CA
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Since 2005, with the support of the armed services, the U.S. Department of Defense DoD Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office SAPRO has worked to prevent sexual assault in the U.S. military and to improve programs to respond to the needs of sexual assault victims. Unfortunately, despite these and other efforts, the rate of sexual assault in the military has not declined over the past decade. Further study of the epidemiology of sexual assault, the implementation and evaluation of innovative prevention approaches, and continued policy and fiscal support will be crucial to addressing military sexual assault. Alcohol misuse, which ranges from risky drinking to alcohol dependence Saitz, 2005, has also been a high-priority area, with growing concern about alcohol-related incidents involving military personnel e.g., motor vehicle accidents, suicides. DoD may be well served by an examination of the link between alcohol and sexual violence among service members, and, where appropriate, consideration of policies to reduce alcohol misuse as a part of a strategy to prevent sexual assaults as well as a broader strategy to address alcohol use problems. This report relies on research on the role of alcohol in the processes that lead to sexual assault perpetration and risk of victimization in order to evaluate the extent to which alcohol misuse may be a viable target by which to reduce the rate of sexual assault.
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