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Senator Murray offered an amendment to a defense spending bill following a March 2018 AP investigation that found a massive failure by the Defense Department to address juvenile-on-juvenile cases of sexual assault 

Amendment would increase funding for DoD’s Family Advocacy Program to adequately respond to, maintain records of juvenile-on-juvenile sexual assault incidences 

Senator Murray: Amendment is “a solid step forward” that will give DoD the “resources and tools it needs to address this issue with the urgency it requires” 

ICYMI: Senator Patty Murray Demands Answers from Department of Defense on Appalling Failure to Address Sexual Assault Against Children on Military Installations – VIDEO

(Washington, D.C.) U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, successfully secured $20 million in a defense spending bill to help support and protect children of servicemembers who were sexually assaulted by other children. The investment will go toward the Department of Defense’s Family Advocacy Program to provide training and resources to help ensure a consistent, standardized response to allegations of juvenile problematic sexual behavior, and maintain a centralized database of reported juvenile sexual assault.  Sen. Murray’s move came after an Associated Press (AP) report that found a massive failure by the Department of Defense (DoD) to address cases of juvenile-on-juvenile sexual assault on military installations and in Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools. According to AP’s investigation, since 2007 there have been nearly 600 cases of sexual assault against children on military installations, including 37 incidences on Washington state bases. The report also detailed multiple layers of failures—at every level—of the Department’s response to juvenile survivors’ needs.

“As a mother, a grandmother, and someone who cares about the well-being of children, it is unconscionable to think that our military children are not receiving the protection and support they need after surviving the trauma of sexual assault,” said Senator Murray. “This amendment is a solid step forward that will help give the Department of Defense the resources and tools it needs to address this issue with the urgency it requires, and I will continue pressing Secretary Mattis and other Defense leaders to ensure that our military is doing everything in its power to support juvenile survivors and bring justice to their cases. Anything less is inexcusable.”  

Following the AP report, on March 16 Senator Murray sent a letter to Department of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis demanding immediate information to learn more about the efforts being taken by the Department to address incidences of juvenile-on-juvenile sexual assault. Senator Murray later questioned Secretary Mattis about the AP investigation’s findings, and requested more information about the Department’s response, during a May 2018 Senate committee hearing.