Navy, Marine Corps See Decreases in Sexual Assault Reports in FY 2023

May 17, 2024 4:40 PM
The Pentagon with the Washington Monument and National Mall in the background. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Perry Aston)(Released)

The Navy and Marine Corps each saw decreases in the number of sexual assault cases for Fiscal Year 2023, the first time in three years that the services have seen a decrease in the number of reports.
The Navy reported 1,942 sexual assault incidents for Fiscal Year 2023, down 5 percent from FY 2022, when the service reported 2,052. The Marines saw a 1 percent decrease in FY 2023, with 1,228 cases in FY 2023 versus 1,244 in FY 2022.

Despite the decrease in FY 2023, the Navy and Marine Corps still reported more sexual assaults than in Fiscal Years 2019, 2020 and 2021. FY 2020 also showed a decrease in the number of reports, but it’s unclear how the COVID-19 pandemic affected the number of reports.

It’s difficult to get the whole picture of sexual assault without understanding how reporting compares to the prevalence of sexual assault, USNI News previously reported. While the Department of Defense’s Annual Sexual Assault Report looks at prevalence rates every two years, with FY 2023 being the last year it collected the data, it did not break out prevalence rates by services.

However, the DoD’s statistics report that accompanied the annual sexual assault report lists the Navy’s reporting rate as 5.7 per 1,000 sailors, the same as FY 2022 and slightly higher than in FY 2021. The Marine Corps saw a slight increase, with a reporting rate of 6.7 per 1,000 Marines versus 6.5 in FY 2022.

DoD table

Of the Navy’s 1,942 reports in FY 2023, the majority were unrestricted reports, which means that the person reporting the assault was willing to allow an investigation. There were 1,226 unrestricted reports and 716 restricted ones in FY 2023. Of the reports, all but 72 were filed by active-duty sailors.

DoD Table

For the Marines, 752 reports were unrestricted while 476 were restricted. There were 73 cases filed by someone other than a Marine.

When it came to the Navy dispositions of the cases that were investigated, 42 percent were found to not have commander action. Some of the reasons included the victim not wanting to participate in the case, which happened in 19 percent of the cases.

DoD Table

But the majority of the cases without commander action were due to insufficient evidence.

Of the unrestricted cases, 55 percent did have commander action. That led to 24 percent of them going to court-martial.

The remaining cases received other forms of disciplinary action, including administrative discharge or punishment.

DoD Table

The Marines had similar numbers. Of the unrestricted cases, 57 percent had commander action, with court-martials initiated in 37 percent of cases. For those without commander action, 92 percent were due to insufficient evidence.

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio is a reporter with USNI News. She has a master’s degree in science journalism and has covered local courts, crime, health, military affairs and the Naval Academy.
Follow @hmongilio

Get USNI News updates delivered to your inbox