On Feb. 3, 2009 Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) reintroduced the Military Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Response Act (H.R.840). The bill seeks to reduce violence against military personnel and their families by enhancing programs of prevention and deterrence, improving victim services, and strengthening provisions for prosecution of assailants.
Women who courageously serve in our armed forces must deal with the possibility of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape during their service. One study noted that sexual assault in the military is three to ten times more prevalent than in the general population. Nearly one-third of a nationwide sample of female veterans who sought health care through the VA said they experienced rape or attempted rape during their service.
This legislation is not specific to women, as men also risk sexual assault in the military. Every service member deserves full rights and protections from abuse, and this legislation ensures that this occurs.
Specifically the legislation will:
-Establish an Office of Victims Advocate (OVA) within the Department of Defense, bring the Family Advocacy Program under OVA, and create a Director of OVA to oversee and coordinate efforts to prevent and respond to cases of family violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.-Codify rights, restitution policies, treatment and other services for victims within the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), including creating comprehensive confidentiality protocols to protect the rights of victims within military law
-Strengthen policies for reporting, prosecuting and treating perpetrators of violence
-Create counseling and treatment programs through the Department of Veterans Affairs
Contact your Representative today and ask them to become a cosponsor of H.R. 840 and to actively work for its passage. If your Representative is already a cosponsor, you can send them a thank you note.