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A New Law Targets Child Sexual Assault at Military Bases

President Donald Trump on Monday signed into law sweeping military reforms, including new guidelines for how the Department of Defense must handle child-on-child sexual assault on military bases, both in the United States and abroad.

While the military has responded to intense pressure to address sexual assault in its ranks in the past few years, an Associated Press investigation revealed how military children who were survivors of sexual assault often lacked legal protection and attention—especially when their assaulters were other children.

Under the new law, children in Pentagon-run schools will now receive the same protections against sexual assault as children in public schools in the United States. Legislators hope this will interrupt the pattern of child assault cases languishing unaddressed and unresolved.

The new regulations come as a part of the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act that provides $716 billion in defense for the 2019 fiscal year. The broad legislation includes military pay raises and funding for advanced weaponry.