Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Election 2020: Live Results | Tracking COVID-19 | Racial Justice

Department Of Defense Targets Sexual Trauma With New App

Carolyn Allard, clinical director, Solara Mental Health, June 20, 2017.

Photo by Kris Arciaga

Above: Carolyn Allard, clinical director, Solara Mental Health, June 20, 2017.

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.

An online app is the latest attempt by the Department of Defense to create programs which deal with sexual trauma among the U.S. military.

“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."


San Diego News Matters podcast branding

KPBS' daily news podcast covering local politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings so you can listen on your morning commute.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Photo of Steve Walsh

Steve Walsh
Military Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover military and veterans issues for KPBS and American Homefront, a partnership of public radio stations and NPR. I cover issues ranging from delpoying troops along the California border to efforts to lower suicide rates among veterans.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.