The number of sexual assaults reported to the US Navy rose over the last year, American media reported on Thursday.
The Navy says about 1,100 assaults were reported in the year ending this month, an increase of 50% from 726 last year. The growing rate of military sexual assault has drawn congressional and White House attention in recent months.
Across the entire US military, an estimated 26,000 service members reported sexual assault in 2012, up from 19,000 the previous year, according to a US Department of Defense report released in May.
The Navy has conducted a sexual assault education and prevention campaign in recent years to increase awareness of the issue. As a result, the Navy anticipated a rise in the number of reported incidents this year, the Navy’s top sexual assault prevention and response officer said. “What we’re trying to do is close that gap between anonymous surveys where sailors say that they’ve been victims of sexual assault in their past to those sailors that actually come forward to report,” Rear Adm Sean Buck told.