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Take Action: Improve Access to VA Services and Benefits for MST Survivors
Military Sexual Trauma, or MST, is a prevalent issue in military and veteran communities that impacts men and women. MST refers to sexual assault or sexual harassment experienced during military service. While many veterans have experienced MST, survivors often feel alone or ashamed and unable to seek necessary care and services. One in every 16 women, and one in every 143 men, report being the victims of MST.

Several reports from the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) Office of Inspector General have outlined shortcomings at VA when it comes to supporting the survivors of MST. From denied benefits claims to inadequate mental and medical health support, there is a critical need to improve access and services for survivors.

The Servicemembers and Veterans Empowerment and Support Act of 2021 would address shortcomings at VA to ensure equitable access to services for survivors of MST. This piece of legislation will address issues at both the Veterans Benefits Administration as well as within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA).

PVA Position:

PVA supports the passage of H.R. 5666/S. 3025, the Servicemembers and Veterans Empowerment and Support Act of 2021, which would:

  • Include digital and online harassment when assessing MST claims;
  • Address issues with the claims process for MST; 
  • Train VA staff to effectively identify critical markers for MST claims; and 
  • Increase access to medical and mental health services within VHA.

 

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