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Reported sex assaults leap 23 percent at US military academies

Sexual assaults reported by women at military academies rose by 23 per cent in a year across all three U.S. military branches, according to a Pentagon report.

The number of reported sexual assaults rose from 65 in 2021 to 80 during 2012 at the Army's West Point, and the Air Force and Naval Academies. 

Sexual assault is defined as everything from "groping" to "rape."

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The Air Force had the highest number of reported sexual assaults, with the figure rising from 33 to 52.  The number of sexual assaults at West Point increased from 10 to 15. 

The Naval Academy saw a drop in reported sexual assaults from 22 to 13.

Victims of sexual assault in military say brass often ignore pleas for justice

Defense officials stress that the increase in "reported" sexual assaults appears to be the result of a more aggressive campaign by the services to encourage victims to come forward. 

Assault victims can now report a sexual assault, receive medical care, but chose to keep their report private and not pursue criminal charges against their assailant.

In 2011 more than 3,000 service members reported sexual assaults but according to the Department of Defense, the real number is closer to 19,000. NBC's Natalie Morales reports.

Although the actual number of reported Navy assaults dropped, defense officials are concerned that there appears to be a "statistical" decrease in the number of "anonymous" reports in Navy surveys.  It is feared fewer victims are willing to come forward and report such attacks.

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