Velazquez Seeks Resources for Veteran Survivors of Domestic Violence and Abuse
Washington, DC –Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) has crafted bipartisan legislation to improve services for veterans of all gender identities who have experienced domestic abuse and violence.
“Our society is undergoing an important watershed change when it comes to issues of sexual abuse and domestic violence,” noted Velázquez. “We must support survivors in all professions and spheres and that should certainly extend to the brave women and men who wear the uniform of our country.”
Based on a 2014 study examining prevalence of military sexual trauma (MST), roughly one-third of females in the military screen positive for MST, and the rates are higher for younger veterans. As such, the Violence Against Women Veterans Act seeks to improve the services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) by requiring an integration of said services with community-based programs that serve domestic violence or sexual assault victims.
“Sadly, for many of our veterans, the biggest battle of their lives will not be fought during deployment, but with the difficult memory of their abusers replaying in their minds,” said Velázquez. “It is heartbreaking to think that our veterans, individuals who have fought for our freedoms, would have to endure this hardship. We must improve the provision of services and benefits for our veterans of all identities.”
The Violence Against Women Veterans Act also establishes a National Task Force on Domestic Violence to gather information on how to best provide comprehensive support to our veterans. It seeks to create a network of local coordinators that facilitate cooperation between the VA and social services, as well as assist domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers in providing services to veterans.
The bill is cosponsored by 39 Representatives and was referred to the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
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