May 4, 2015 7:49 AM by Cheryl Wengren
WASHINGTON (AP) - A senator leading a push to tighten policy on military sex assaults says the number of sex-related crimes in military communities is far greater than the Defense Department has publicly reported.
In a report released today, Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand (KEER'-sten JIHL'-uh-brand) says the spouses of service members and civilian women who live or work near military facilities are especially vulnerable to sexual assault.
The New York senator says they "remain in the shadows" because neither is counted in surveys conducted by the Defense Department to determine the prevalence of sexual assaults within the ranks.
The Defense Department says it is making progress against sexual assaults. It estimates sex crimes are decreasing and victims are more confident offenders will be held accountable.