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Connolly Joins Effort Urging VA to Improve Treatment for Sexual Assault Survivors

Today, Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA) joined Reps. Annie Kuster (D-NH), Don Bacon (R-NE), and Julia Brownley (D-CA) in sending a bipartisan letter to VA Secretary Denis McDonough requesting the VA improve care for veterans who seek treatment for sexual assault and sexual abuse at VHA facilities.

The letter was written in response to a December 2023 VA OIG report that identified failures in the Veteran Health Administration’s treatment of sexual abuse and sexual assault survivors at VA facilities. The OIG report found that 42% VHA facilities did not have a sexual assault kit available for use and lacked any documentation of psychological counseling services or mental health resources offered in 53% of visits to facilities.

“This report, titled Greater Compliance with Policies Needed Related to the Management of Emergent Care for Patients Presenting with Acute Sexual Assault, outlined opportunities for VHA emergency departments and urgent care center facilities to improve the delivery of services for survivors of sexual assault seeking care,” the Members wrote in their letter. “We urge the Department to act swiftly to ensure VA facilities are prepared and equipped to deliver care to patients presenting with acute sexual assault.”

“The report released by the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General was shocking, and it must spur us to right these egregious wrongs without hesitation,” said Congressman Connolly. “Our veterans have selflessly dedicated their lives to this nation. Just as we do not leave a soldier behind on the battlefield, we must not leave out veterans behind once they come home.”

The full letter is available here.
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