Defence insists it is moving away from automatically subjecting sexual abuse victims to investigations to focus on offering practical care.
The shift was aimed at ensuring people had the confidence to come forward to access support and have control over the process ahead, Vice Defence Force Chief Ray Griggs told a Senate estimates hearing on Wednesday.
Previously, the main focus had been on an investigation process which could be distressing for the victim.
Vice Admiral Griggs was responding to last week's media coverage that sexual misconduct cases in defence ranks had reached the highest level in five years.
There were 265 reports of sexual misconduct in the Defence Force last year.
The hearing was told that as of the start of May, there had been 27 substantiated cases of sexual assault allegations against serving defence personnel this year.
There had been disciplinary action in 24 other cases, one civilian conviction, one termination of military service and one case resolved through mediation.
Thirty-six cases are still under investigation.
Vice Admiral Griggs attributed a recent spike in cases to historical cases finally being reported as well as the defence force ramping up training this year to encourage people to speak up.
Defence Minister Marise Payne said sexual misconduct was unacceptable.