If you’re the parent or guardian of a child affected by physical or sexual abuse on a military installation, or as a military dependent, government auditors want your feedback about your experience seeking assistance or care.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is conducting a review of cases of child abuse by an adult and child-on-child abuse that occurred on military installations and/or involved military dependents. They’ll conduct confidential interviews through Sept. 30.
The review is gathering information about the investigative and adjudicative process with regard to these incidents; about the resources and assistance available; as well as any suggestions for improvement.
In 2018, The Associated Press published reports detailing problems with child-on-child sexual assault on military bases, including military schools, and the issues with how law enforcement officials on and off base deal with the cases. The House Armed Services Committee asked GAO to review the handling of these cases.
The Defense Department Inspector General is also conducting an investigation into how the DoD school system handles serious sexual misconduct.
The GAO auditors are seeking participants who reported the incident through the proper channels, and the incidents were closed from an investigative and legal standpoint. The auditors can’t discuss ongoing cases, or cases that were never reported to authorities. Their review includes investigations by military officials as well as civilian authorities; it includes children who were victims of abuse by adults or by other children.
For example, parents and guardians of military children or civilian children who were victims of abuse on military installations qualify to be included. In the case of locations outside the installation, the incident must have involved a military child.
Officials can’t accept information from the child victim, due to the sensitivity of the issues. Only parents and guardians can provide information.
The conversations will be confidential, and no personal identifying information will be reported. The contact information will not be distributed to anyone for any other purpose. The GAO is not a DoD agency.
Those conducting the interviews won’t ask questions about the incidents themselves other than background information, such as the year it happened. There is currently no limitation on how long ago an incident happened for it to be included. No details about the incident will be needed.
Participants will have the option of speaking to either a female or male member of the GAO staff.
For more information or to schedule a confidential conversation, call GAO at 833-265-6169 or email Outreach2019@gao.gov. If no one is available, you can leave a message with a call-back number or email address. Appointments are available outside normal working hours, including nights and weekends.
Information is also available at Military OneSource.