Bills Introduced: Background Checks on Foster Care Placements,Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking, Military Sexual Trauma & Tax Credit Increase for Childless Workers
Rep. Dina Titus
On March 27, the House Veterans' Affairs Subcommittee on Health held a hearing on several bills, including H.R. 2527, the National Guard Military Sexual Trauma Parity Act, and H.R. 2974, a bill to provide beneficiary travel for veterans seeking treatment and care for military sexual trauma (MST) in specialized inpatient and outpatient programs at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
National Guard Military Sexual Trauma Parity Act
The measure, sponsored by Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV), would permit veterans who served in the National Guard or reserve components of the armed forces and experienced military sexual assault during inactive duty training to receive the necessary counseling and care.
Speaking on behalf of the bill, Rep. Titus said, "Members of the National Guard or other reserve components who are the unfortunate victims of sexual assault while on active duty are, like members of the other armed forces, provided all the resources and services they need to recover and heal, physically and emotionally. This treatment is provided by the VA for free for as long as is needed … These benefits, however, are not offered to members of the National Guard or other reserve components who experience sexual assault while on inactive training missions." She continued, “This oversight is simply unacceptable, and leaves so many who have served our country without assistance or support during a devastating time. The National Guard Military Sexual Trauma Parity Act would fix this omission and clarify that all victims of sexual trauma in the National Guard or other reserve components have access to the resources and services they need whether they are on active duty or on a required training mission.”
The legislation, sponsored by Jackie Walorski (R-IN), would make victims of military sexual trauma eligible for VA beneficiary travel benefits.
Rep. Jackie Walorski
"MST-related care must be provided in a setting that is therapeutically appropriate, taking into account the circumstances that resulted in the need for such care," said Rep. Walorski. "A supportive environment is essential for recovery. Thus, VA policy states that any veteran with MST must receive clinically appropriate care regardless of location. Veterans being treated for conditions associated with MST are often admitted to programs outside their Veterans Integrated Service Network. VA health care in general, especially for women, has been characterized as fragmented … to a 2012 VA inspector general report, obtaining authorization for travel funding was frequently cited as a major problem for both patients and staff. The beneficiary travel policy indicates that only certain categories of veterans are eligible for travel benefits, and payment is only authorized to the closest facility providing a comparable service. The current beneficiary travel policy contradicts VA's MST policy, which states that patients with MST should be referred to programs that are clinically indicated regardless of geographic location."
The following witnesses also testified:
- The Honorable Michael Grimm (R-NY);
- The Honorable Sean Duffy (R-WI);
- The Honorable Marcy Kaptur (D-OH);
- The Honorable Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ);
- The Honorable David P. Roe (R-TN);
- The Honorable Jeff Denham (R-CA);
- Joy Ilem, deputy national legislative director, Disabled American Veterans;
- Alethea Predeoux, associate director of Health Analysis, Paralyzed Veterans of America;
- Aleksandr Morosky, senior legislative associate, National Legislative Service, Veterans of Foreign Wars; and
- Madhulka Agarwal MD, MPH, deputy under secretary for Health for Policy and Services, Veterans Health Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs.
On March 26, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations held a hearing, Innocence for Sale: Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking.
Judge Donna Quigley Groman
The Honorable Donna Quigley Groman, supervising judge, Kenyon Juvenile Justice Center, Los Angeles County Juvenile Delinquency Court, focused her remarks on the need to treat children who have been trafficked as victims. She said, "It is important to understand that these youth are not criminals. They are children who are being abused by sex traffickers, and they deserve the same protections and resources to which other child victims of sexual or physical abuse and neglect are entitled. Child victims of sexual abuse are comforted by assurances that they are not responsible for the abuse. Child victims of commercial sexual exploitation deserve the same assurances. The criminalization of commercial exploitation of children holds these children responsible for not preventing their exploitation."
Highlighting federal efforts to end domestic child sex trafficking, Michael Harpster, acting deputy assistant director, Criminal Investigative Division, Branch 1, Federal Bureau of Investigation, noted that "By utilizing information obtained through [task force] operations, and by building a strong rapport with victims, the FBI often uncovers organized efforts to prostitute women and children across many states. These investigations can lead to local, state, or federal charges. To date, our investigations have led to the conviction of more than 1,400 pimps, madams, and their associates who commercially exploit children through prostitution. These convictions have resulted in lengthy sentences, including multiple life sentences and the seizure of real property, vehicles, and monetary assets."
The following witnesses also testified during the hearing:
Pages: 1 · 2
- GAO & Sexual Assault: Better Resource Management Needed to Improve Prevention and Response in the Army National Guard and Army Reserve
- A Victory for Protestors at Standing Rock Reservation: Army Will Not Grant Easement for Dakota Access Pipeline Crossing
- What is the Status of VA Primary Health Care Scheduing? Actions Needed to Improve Access to Primary Care for Newly Enrolled Veterans
- Congressional Hearing on Zika Epidemic, STEM Funding for Women & Minorities, a Bill to Improve Child Care for Military Veterans, Treating Drug Addiction
- Duke-EWG Study Finds Toxic Nail Polish Chemical In Women’s Bodies
- CAGW Names Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald April Porker of the Month
- Today in DOD: Daily coverage of activities and a tribute to Robin Williams
- Remembering ... On a Day Once Known as 'Decoration Day'
- Pauline C. Fryer, Union Spy and Miss Sarah A. Bowman, San Francisco National Cemetery
- Bills & Hearings: Childhood Development and Education in Indian Country, Military Sexual Assault & Suicide