FORT BENNING, Ga., (Feb. 26, 2014) -- According to an Army Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program website, sexual assault is the most under-reported crime in society and the military.

Part of the reason for that may stem from victims' desire to keep the incident as private as possible. In an effort to provide that privacy, the Department of Defense's Confidentiality Policy offers victims two reporting options -- restricted and unrestricted.

According to the website, restricted reporting is recommended for victims of sexual assault who wish to disclose the incident confidentially. Victims who choose this reporting method can receive medical treatment and counseling without triggering an official investigative process.

In order to report the assault using the restricted method, victims must report the assault to a sexual assault response coordinator, victim advocate or health-care provider.

Restricted reporting is available to military personnel and dependents 18 or older who are eligible for treatment in the military health-care system and who were victims of sexual assault perpetrated by someone other than a spouse or intimate partner.

Unrestricted reporting, meanwhile, is recommended for victims who desire medical treatment, counseling and an official investigation of the alleged crime.

The unrestricted reporting method should be reported through the chain of command, law enforcement, SARC or victims can request health-care providers to contact law enforcement. Under unrestricted reporting, details of the incident will be limited to only those personnel with a legitimate need to know.

Access to medical treatment and counseling will be made available to any victim who is assaulted while on active-duty status or during inactive duty training, regardless of reporting method.

To report a sexual assault, call the 24/7 hotline at 706-566-7393 or the Department of Defense helpline at 877-995-5247.

For more information on restricted and unrestricted reporting, visit http://www.preventsexualassault.army.mil/policy_restricted_unrestricted_reporting.cfm.

Page last updated Wed February 26th, 2014 at 14:18