FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 14, 2018
PROTECT OUR DEFENDERS CALLS ON VETERANS AFFAIRS SECRETARY TO IMMEDIATELY REVIEW CLAIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT VICTIMS THAT WERE WRONGLY DENIED
New Military Women’s Coalition that includes Protect Our Defenders, Service Women’s Action Network, Final Salute Inc. and others deliver letters demanding reform
Washington, D.C. — Today, Protect Our Defenders (POD), the Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN), Final Salute Inc. and more than 40 other military advocacy groups called on Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert Wilkie to reform how the VA handles military sexual trauma (MST) cases and immediately review all denied military sexual assault claims from September 2012 to the present. A recent VA Inspector General investigation found that the agency mishandled nearly 1,300 sexual assault claims over a six month period — 12,000 sexual assault-related PTSD claims are made by veterans every year.
A newly formed Military Women’s Coalition delivered letters to officials calling on the VA to reform how it handles military sexual trauma claims and examine the VA’s plan and timelines to ensure that no future MST claims are improperly denied. On September 7th, 2018, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie joined this gathering of 46 organizations and hundreds of attendees for its inaugural meeting in Atlanta, Georgia.
Becky Burke, Executive Director of Protect Our Defenders and the head of POD’s new Law Center released the following statement:
“It is appalling the extent to which the Veterans Administration failed in its duty to care for service members who have experienced sexual assault while serving our country. All survivors of sexual assault deserve proper treatment and benefits. It is imperative that the Veterans Administration enact reforms to ensure that MST survivors are offered the appropriate services and benefits they deserve.”
The signed letters delivered by the Military Women’s Coalition can be viewed here:
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