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HARRISBURG, PA.—The Department of Defense Task Force on Sexual Assault in the Military has released its report highlighting the need for improved sexual assault prevention and response efforts.

For the last 16 months, Delilah Rumburg, executive director of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape participated as part of a task force that conducted a detailed assessment of the Department of Defense programs, policies and practices that address sexual assault involving members of the Armed Forces.

Rumburg and others from the 10-member task force traveled to areas such as Iraq, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Japan, Italy, Germany and more than a dozen U.S. states to conduct interviews with military ranging from generals to the enlisted. The task force developed a set of questions that would help assess the quality of response and services when there is a sexual assault.

It also examined the judicial process and the implementation of primary prevention efforts. “We received information from more than 3,000 members of the military over the last year,” Rumburg said. “The information gathered through the last year helped shape changes and develop recommendations that will provide better prevention strategies and more effective assistance to those who have been sexually assaulted.”

According to the task force, the Defense Department has made significant progress in improving response to victims’ needs; however, greater focus and efforts are required to fully address sexual assault prevention.

“The unique partnership of the task force brought great insight to the work of the task force and especially, in the findings and recommendations delivered to the Secretary of Defense,” said Louis Iasiello, task force co-chairman.

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AG with DR and Diane

PA Attorney General Tom Corbett with PCAR Executive Director Delilah Rumburg (L) and PCAR Legal Director Diane Moyer (R)

The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape honored Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett Friday at its annual board meeting in State College.

Attorney General Corbett received the Community Partners Award for his work in creating the Child Predator Unit and his efforts to reduce the number of sexual assaults across the state.

“The attorneys, investigators and dedicated staff from the Office of Attorney General work vigorously every day to make Pennsylvania a better and safer place for all of our residents,” Attorney General Tom Corbett said.  “The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape shares this same goal, and I count it as an honor to be recognized by them as a partner in their mission to prevent sexual violence and protect our families against the growing threat of Internet predators.”

Under Attorney General Corbett’s leadership, the Child Predator Unit became a top priority when he became Attorney General in 2005. The project has led to the arrest of more than 240 individuals who have attempted to sexually solicit children whom they believed to be minors, including undercover agents using the online profiles of children as well as actual children who alerted parents or other concerned adults about the inappropriate contact.

“Attorney General Corbett’s work is a remarkable testament to his dedication to end child sexual abuse,” PCAR Executive Director Delilah Rumburg said. “Tom recognized that predators were using the Internet as a means of contacting and communicating with young victims. He knew it was critical for law enforcement to stay one step ahead.”

The unit’s efforts have paid off in a 100 percent conviction rate against these predators.

Corbett also created the successful “Operation Safe Surf” program, which takes the lessons learned from Internet predator investigations and uses examples to educate children, parents, teachers and others about how to better protect themselves online. Safe Surf is presented free of charge to schools and community groups across the state, and has reached more than 200,000 teens and adults.

PCAR is the oldest and largest state anti-sexual violence coalition in the U.S. The organization represents 51 sexual assault centers that serve the state’s 67 counties. Each year, these centers provide confidential services, at no charge, to more than 21,000 victims of sexual abuse.

A woman loses her health insurance while taking prescribed anti-HIV drugs after she was raped. Her insurance company tells her she has to prove that she is HIV free for two years and cannot be undergoing any counseling in order for her coverage to be reinstated.

See the video on CNN’s Anderson Cooper here: http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2009/10/27/ac.turner.health.care.cnn