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Military sex assault reports jump by 50 percent

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By The Associated Press
Friday, Dec. 27, 2013, 11:57 a.m.

WASHINGTON — The number of reported sexual assaults across the military shot up by more than 50 percent this year.

Defense officials suggest that victims are becoming more willing to come forward.

The increase follows a tumultuous year of scandals that shined a spotlight on the crimes and put pressure on the military to act aggressively.

A string of high profile assaults and arrests triggered outrage in Congress and set off months of debate over how to change the military justice system. Military leaders have launched several new programs to increase accountability and encourage victims to come forward.

Early data obtained by The Associated Press show there were more than 5,000 reports of sexual assaults filed in 2013, compared to fewer than 3,400 in 2012.

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