by Tim Darnell
Staff Writer
Capitol Beat News Service

with additional reporting by Robin Kemp

Georgia State University is opening a national center to prevent sexual assault in the military and among college students.

The National Center for Sexual Violence Prevention is a project of Amanda Gilmore and Shannon Self-Brown, professors in GSU’s Health Policy and Behavioral Sciences Department. Gilmore and Self-Brown secured $668,677 in funding from the U.S. Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office.

“The center will continue to support sexual violence prevention research at Georgia State to reduce violence in high-risk populations like military, college students and adolescents,” said Gilmore. “This can have long-lasting impacts by reducing the mental health consequences of sexual assault including substance use, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide.” 

Part of that mission includes establishing a sexual assault prevention workforce within the military.

In 2018, according to a report issued by an independent review commission on sexual assault in the military, more than 20,000 service members were the victims of sexual assault, including 13,000 women and 7,500 men.

Data and service delivery for FY 2020 were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to SAPR’s annual report. To meet the needs of victims, “the Department and Military Services quickly pivoted delivery of victim assistance to virtual means. In addition, the Department reissued key reporting documentation so that forms could be electronically signed by Service members and response personnel. Equally important, the Department increased its
media presence to publicize the change in approach and the availability of DoD Safe Helpline (SHL) throughout the year to continue reporting and service delivery to all seeking assistance with an experience of sexual assault. SHL
subsequently experienced a 35 percent increase in visitors using its website compared to FY19. In sum, Department
personnel worked very hard to ensure that everyone who requested assistance received it.”

Read the full 2018 report:

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation. (The Clayton Crescent‘s Robin Kemp edited and added to this story.)

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