Reports of sexual assault involving military servicemembers rose by 11 percent last year, but Pentagon officials said that was just what they were hoping would happen.

With 3,230 reported cases in 2009, officials see the rising numbers in a positive light. Only between 18 to 20 percent of all sexual assaults are estimated to come to light, and it has been a goal for the Defense Department to improve the reporting of incidents.

The Pentagon figures include both perpetrators and victims serving in the military and covers eight categories of sexual assault ranging from wrongful sexual contact to rape. The figures reflect sexual assaults involving a military member against a military member, a military member against a civilian or a civilian against a military member

Dr. Kaye Whitley, the head of the D.O.D.’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office said the department wants to create a "climate of confidence," so victims will come forward to report an assault. She said this year’s numbers reflect that goal.

The numbers have risen every year since the Pentagon began compiling the reports in 2005. This year’s increase builds on last year’s 8 percent increase.

There was also an increase in the number of reports filed in Iraq and Afghanistan. There were 175 reports of sexual assault in Iraq and 40 in Afghanistan in 2009, compared to 141 in Iraq and 22 in Afghanistan the previous year.

It is not clear whether, in addition to reporting, equal efforts are being put into measures to curb the actual assaults.

Source: ABC News