WASHINGTON - The number of sexual assault cases reported to US military authorities edged up last year, with most involving a member of the armed forces attacking another, the Pentagon said in an annual report released on Friday.
The 3,192 cases in 2011 amounted to a 1 per cent increase over the 3,158 reported in 2010.
Some 56 per cent of the cases involved one service member attacking another, 26 per cent a member of the military attacking a civilian, 6 per cent a civilian attacking a service member and 12 per cent an unidentified person attacking a service member, the report said.
Despite an increased effort by authorities to address the problem and highlight the issue with the annual report, figures on sexual assaults in the military have remained largely unchanged.
US Representative Jackie Speier, an outspoken critic of the military's handling of sexual assault cases, said the report showed "regrettably, more of the same," with cases up and prosecutions and punishments down.
"All of the important numbers are going in the wrong direction," said Speier, who advocates taking sexual assault cases out of the hands of the military's chain of command and putting them under the jurisdiction of a special office made up of military and civilian experts.
"This report shows that prevention classes and sensitivity training are not enough to solve the problem of rape and sexual assault in the military," she said.