WASHINGTON, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has unveiled efforts to combat sexual assault among the armed forces.
"One sexual assault is too many," Panetta said at a Wednesday press conference.
Panetta announced several Department of Defense initiatives aimed at dealing with cases of sexual assault. In addition to establishing a sexual assault advocate certification program, American Forces Press Service said the confidential reporting option will be extended to military spouses and adult family members. Leader training in sexual assault prevention will be assessed, and there will be an increase in funding for military investigators and judge advocates.
Voice of America reports almost 3,200 cases of sexual assault were filed last year by service members. Due to vast under-reporting, military officials estimate as many as 19,000 cases actually occur each year.