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Fors Marsh Group and OPA Research Informs SAPRO FY17 Report on Sexual Assault Prevention

Fors Marsh Group (FMG), in partnership with the Department of Defense (DOD) Office of People Analytics (OPA), has completed and published research that will be used to improve DOD-wide sexual assault prevention programs, reduce and prevent retaliation associated with reporting, and enhance the support provided to military Service members who report experiencing sexual assault. All these efforts are focused on the continued reduction of sexual assault within the military population.

FMG conducted qualitative and quantitative research in support of the DOD’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office’ (SAPRO) Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) report. FMG worked with OPA to conduct three research efforts: the 2017 Military Service Gender Relations Focus Groups, the Workplace and Gender Relations Survey of Reserve Component Members (WGRR), and the Military Investigation and Justice Experience Survey (MIJES).

For the Military Service Gender Relations Focus Groups, FMG and OPA conducted 54 focus groups with approximately 400 Service members from across the Military Services. Discussion topics included military culture, leadership’s role in the SAPR program, bystander intervention, reporting incidents, social media use, and how the military has changed over time. Focus groups results showed that service members perceived a greater focus on sexual assault prevention from leadership as well as a supportive environment in which to report sexual assault. Participants also noted that behaviors such as crude comments or inappropriate jokes are now taken more seriously, but that confusion about which behaviors constitute sexual harassment remains.

FMG also worked with OPA to conduct the Workplace and Gender Relations Survey of Reserve Component Members (WGRR). Respondents answered questions about past-year experiences of sexual assault, past-year experiences of sexual harassment, reporting outcomes, and gender-related military equal opportunity (MEO) violations. The results indicated a trend downward in the estimated sexual assault prevalence rates between 2015 and 2017.

For the Military Investigation and Justice Experience Survey (MIJES), FMG worked with OPA to survey 371 Service members who experienced a sexual assault and made an unrestricted report of the incident. The respondents expressed a great deal of satisfaction with the services provided by Special Victims’ Counsel/Victims’ Legal Counsel (SVC/VLC), Sexual Assault Response Coordinators (SARC), and SAPR Victim Advocates (SAPR VA). Specifically, most indicated SARCs and Victim Advocates used discretion when sharing case details, supported the respondents throughout the military justice process, and helped them work with investigators, attorneys, and commanders.

To learn more about FMG’s work with the Department of Defense, visit FMG’s Defense webpage.

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