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Panetta’s Sexual Assault Policy Change Announcement

Date: April 17 2012

[Washington, DC] – Yesterday evening, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey met with the Caucus on Military Sexual Assault and the Caucus on Women in the Military. Following this meeting, Panetta announced new reforms that will ensure that sexual assault cases are subject to review at the Colonel rank. He also announced the formation of new Special Victims Units across each service branch in order to better investigate assaults and bring more perpetrators to justice.  

This comes on the heels of the Pentagon’s release of its annual "Department Of Defense Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military" for 2011. The 734 page report shows that overall reported sexual assaults increased 1% from 3,158 assaults in to 3.192. Read SWAN’s review paper in response to the report here.
WHAT:   The Service Women's Action Network is holding a telephonic press conference today with the Co-Chairs of the Caucus on Military Sexual Assault, Reps. Niki Tsongas (D-MA) and Mike Turner (R-OH), to provide commentary and answer questions about these policy reforms.
WHEN:   Tuesday, April 16th, 2012 at 1:30 pm EST

CALL-IN INFO: Participants dialing in for the conference will dial 866-866-1333 or 404-260-1421. It is advisable that participants dial in approximately 10-15 minutes before the conference is scheduled to begin. All participants who dial in will need to give the operator the following information:
First and Last Name, Organization, Email Address

After that information is given to an operator, participants will be placed on music hold prior to the start of the conference. When the conference begins, all participants will be placed in presentation mode so that the speaker(s) may have their discussion without interruption. The speaker(s) will cue the operator when they are ready to take questions. The operator will instruct participants how to queue up for questions. The operator will go through all participants who have questions and inform the speaker(s) when questions have ceased. When speaker(s) have concluded, everyone may disconnect from the conference.
SWAN is a national civil rights organization founded and led by women veterans. SWAN’s vision is to transform military culture by securing equal opportunity and the freedom to serve in uniform without threat of harassment, discrimination, intimidation or assault. SWAN also seeks to reform veterans' services on a national scale to guarantee equal access to quality health care, benefits and resources for women veterans and their families. You can follow Service Women’s Action Network on Twitter at, or on Facebook at

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