DISABLED AMERICAN VETERANS
807 Maine Ave., SW • Washington, D.C. 20024 • Phone (202) 554-3501 • Fax (202) 863-0233
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 9, 2011
DAV Calls for Mandatory Reporting of all Sexual Assaults in VA Facilities
WASHINGTON — The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) finds very disturbing a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report which cites 284 cases of alleged, attempted or confirmed sex assaults on patients and employees at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers between January 2007 and last July.
“It is fundamental that our VA hospitals offer a safe environment as well as top-flight medical care,” said DAV National Commander Wallace E. Tyson. “This is very disturbing news, and we urge the VA to put into place the report’s recommendations at all medical centers, clinics and other facilities.”
The GAO report examined sexual assaults at VA medical centers and found that many times the victims’ reports are mishandled or inappropriately acted upon based on decisions by local physicians and administrators.
The DAV strongly recommends the creation of a task force to ensure the VA adopts a culture of safety and promptly develops a uniform policy for the reporting of all sexual assaults.
“We look to the VA and the administration to make safety a priority in our VA medical centers,” Tyson said.
“Mandatory reporting is absolutely necessary. There must be a strict requirement set immediately that all allegations of sexual assaults be reported to an independent body of oversight,” Commander Tyson said.
“These reports can no longer be allowed to be dealt with solely at the local level.”
“This is not a gender-specific issue – this is an issue for every veteran, family member and caregiver.
Every person who enters a VA facility must know the government is doing everything possible to keep them safe. VA needs to be a place of care not of fear.”
The 1.2 million-member Disabled American Veterans, a non-profit organization founded in 1920 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1932, represents this nation’s disabled veterans. It is dedicated to a single
purpose: building better lives for our nation’s disabled veterans and their families. For more information, visit the organization’s Web site www.dav.org.