Armed Forces News

Airmen from the 23rd Fighter Group salute the flag during a retreat ceremony at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., March 22, 2012. Each month, members from different squadrons around the 23rd Wing conduct the ceremony signaling the end of the official duty day. (Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Paul Francis)

Findings of a study by the Air Force’s Interpersonal Violence Task Force prompted the service to launch initiatives aimed at ensuring safe work places for airmen, Space Force guardians and civilian employees.

The task force surveyed 68,000 department members, assessed administrative and qualitative data, and conducted focus groups in which 85 personnel took part. The results showed that some 54 percent of all respondents experienced some form of interpersonal violence within the past two years. Sixty-six percent of the females and 48 percent of the males who took part in the survey said they experienced interpersonal violence. Most respondents added that they did not tell anyone within their chain of command, or civilian and military law enforcement officials. Most victims believe reporting such incidents would result in nothing getting done about them.

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The nature of the violence varied. On the low end of the spectrum, 17 percent of all respondents said they were victimized by intimate partners. On the high end, 40 percent said the violence involved hazing.

“We clearly have work to do to ensure that interpersonal violence is prevented,” said Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall. “When it does occur, we need to provide needed support to victims and deal effectively with perpetrators of violence of any type.”

The task force made several recommendations:

•      Improve data awareness and sharing, by completion of a cross-functional database.
•      Offer victims a one-stop policy.
•      Examine the barriers that discourage victims from reporting incidents.

They also recommended enhancing accountability, approachable leadership, more training and education, and expansion of restricted and third-party reporting.