Adm. Papp testifies at Senate Armed Services Committee hearing

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee in the Hart Senate Office in Washington June 4, 2013. Papp joined other senior military leaders in providing an update on sexual assault prevention and response. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee in the Hart Senate Office in Washington June 4, 2013. Papp joined other senior military leaders in providing an update on sexual assault prevention and response. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

Written by Cmdr. Rick Wester.

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp along with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other service chiefs testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee today on sexual assault prevention and response in the military.

The Commandant led his opening statement with a strong statement reaffirming the Coast Guard’s continuing focus on abolishing sexual assault from the service.

“Sexual assault is a violent crime that devastates its victims and it also destroys unit discipline, erodes cohesiveness, and degrades our readiness,” the Commandant said. “I’m personally committed to eliminating it from our Coast Guard.”

The DOD Safe Helpline serves as a confidential crisis support service for servicemembers. You can call the telephone hotline at 877-995-5247, or visit their website at www.safehelpline.org.

The DOD Safe Helpline serves as a confidential crisis support service for servicemembers. You can call the telephone hotline at 877-995-5247, or visit their website at www.safehelpline.org.

In his written statement, the Commandant stated that the service has recently implemented its Sexual Assault Strategic Plan, conducted unit-level training throughout the service and significantly increased the number of victim advocates and sexual assault response coordinators. In his testimony, he added that the Coast Guard has made progress with new policies, enhanced training, improved access to victim support services, and greater reporting opportunities, including those outside the chain of command.

However, he said, “We must, and we will, do more.”

Testifying before more than 20 senators, the Commandant described his approach to sexual assault prevention and response by reading part of a message he previously communicated to the entire Coast Guard in January, 2012.

“We will intervene to prevent or halt these acts when they are occurring, we will investigate and discipline those who have violated law and service policy, and we will insist that all of our Shipmates live by our Core Values,” said the Commandant. “Duty demands courage, and there are no bystanders in the Coast Guard.”

Testimony video, written statement and oral testimony are available

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