A new bill–the Military Justice Improvement Act–would mark the biggest change to the Uniform Code of Military Justice in over three decades by taking the reporting process outside the chain of command and turning it over to military prosecutors. New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who introduced the bill, says it’s aimed at stopping the rising incidence of sexual assault in the military.
“I think you have to change the system by changing how justice is served and that means allowing victims to report directly to a trained military prosecutor who will then decide whether the case should go to trial,” Gillibrand said Thursday on NOW with Alex Wagner.
A Pentagon report released last week revealed that the number of reported cases of sexual assault has risen 6% since 2010, while the number of unreported incidents–based on an anonymous survey of members of the military–rose 35% from 19,000 in 2010 to 26,000 last year.
“This is a crime that has been happening for a very long time and they have been trying to fix it for decades,” Gillibrand said. “What we need to do is change the system. We actually need to change how these cases are reported, how they are reviewed and how they are prosecuted so we can begin to see justice.”