About the Survey
The Sexual Violence Support and Experiences Study (SVSES) allows DoD to learn directly from Service members about their experiences with sexual violence and specifically, sexual assault. The surveys are completely confidential and ask questions about Service member satisfaction with support services, aspects of the military justice process, and questions about Service member health, well-being, and career progression.
In order to continue improving the Military’s support services and accountability processes, it’s important to hear from the Service members. Traditionally, OPA has collected feedback from Service members at a single point in time. However, we know that perceptions and experiences may change over time; that’s why the SVSES is a continuous effort. Service members who join the study will take a 30-minute initial survey followed by a series of less than 10-minute follow-up surveys.
The SVSES is open to all members of the Active, Reserve, and National Guard and members can join the study at any time. Data from the SVSES will provide DoD policy offices and military Service branch leaders with information about the impact of sexual assault on military members and inform ways to improve sexual assault response systems and military justice processes.
Frequently Asked QuestionsWho can join the study?
Any Active, Reserve, or National Guard member who has experienced sexual assault or sexual violence while serving in the Military, regardless of whether you reported the experience to military authorities.How do I join the study? How do I complete the survey?
You can join the study and complete the initial survey now by clicking on the link in the Survey Information box above. You may also receive an email inviting you to join the study. Invitation emails are being sent to individuals who previously made an unrestricted sexual assault report to military authorities and to individuals who previously indicated interest in learning more about the SVSES.How is my identity protected? Will my answers be kept private?
Your responses will be kept private to the extent permitted by law. OPA has obtained a federal “Certificate of Confidentiality” for the SVSES, the strongest privacy assurance available. The certificate is provided by the National Institutes of Health and protects against attempts to compel the disclosure of data in administrative, legislative, or other investigative proceedings (e.g., a subpoena). If you answer any items in such a way that you indicate distress or being upset, you will not be contacted for follow-up purposes. However, if you indicate a direct threat to harm yourself or others within responses or communications about the survey, because of concern for your welfare, OPA may notify an office in your area for appropriate action.Who is sponsoring this study? How will my responses be used?
The study is sponsored by the DoD Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. Policy leaders throughout the DoD and within the military Service branches will be able to use information from the SVSES to improve support services survivors receive and the processes survivors go through to seek accountability.Do I have to answer all the questions?
No, it is not necessary to answer every question. You can skip any question that you prefer not to answer.Do I have to take every survey?
No, you do not need to take every survey. You can skip any follow-up survey. You will remain in the study until you withdraw from the study.Can I withdraw from the study?
If you wish to withdraw from the study, please notify the Survey Processing Center by sending an e-mail to SVSES-Survey@mail.mil or call: 1-800-881-5307.