Department Of Defense Targets Sexual Trauma With New App
The Department of Defense is debuting an online program for victims who experienced sexual trauma before they joined the military.
According to the Department of Defense's annual report on sexual assault in the military, approximately 10 percent of the people who filed reports in 2016 say the experience happened before they were in the service.
“We know trauma has a cumulative effect,” said Carolyn Allard, who directed the military sexual trauma program at VA San Diego for a decade before leaving in the spring for private practice. “We know that people are not going to be as effective maneuvering their lives. And they’re not going to be as effective doing anything in their lives, including being warriors, if they have untreated PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder.”
Allard said that research shows people entering the military have an overall higher rate of trauma, including sexual trauma, then the rest of the population.
The new online program is aimed specifically at their trauma. Allowing people the option to start treatment online could make it easier for people take that first step to seek treatment.
“So there is evidence that some of the online programs have been shown to be effective,” she said.
The program, Building Hope & Resiliency: Addressing the Effects of Sexual Assault, is a self-guided assessment, which can link participants to the other services available through the Department of Defense. The app is available through Apple or Android under "Safe Helpline."