Senators Call for Further Investigation Into Abuse of Military Children

A recent investigation by the Army Times highlighted an increase in cases of child abuse and neglect in the Army. According to the July 29 article in the Army Times, “Nearly 30,000 children have suffered abuse or neglect in Army homes over the past decade. Beatings, torture and starvation claimed the lives of 118 Army children. More than 1,400 children were subjected to sexual abuse.”

In response to the terrible statistics, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), both members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, sent a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. They called for a dialogue with the Department of Defense to determine how to better identify child abusers and sexual offenders who may be entering the military. While the statistics in the article reflected problems in the Army, the senators asked for pertinent statistics from the other Services on child abuse and neglect cases.

Joyce Raezer, National Military Family Association Executive Director, shared her concerns about the increase in abuse and neglect cases in an interview with the Huffington Post, that the tolls of the past decade of war are impacting military families in such a horrific way. Although resources such as the new parent support program are there to help families, stigma can prevent parents from reaching out to use these resources. This can only get worse as personnel and resources diminish and the availability of these programs and access to behavioral health resources may be reduced. The approach should encompass the health of the family in a holistic manner.

Our Association believes that the discussion of these issues is overdue and we will be engaging with policymakers on how we can make military families more aware of the resources they can access to strengthen their families and protect military children. 


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