More sexually traumatized veterans will now have access to mental health care

Billings Gazette

by Cindy Uken

More veterans in need of mental health care because they were sexually assaulted or sexually harassed during their military service are now eligible for treatment, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced Tuesday.

This expansion – primarily pertaining to reservists and National Guard members participating in weekend drills – extends authority to offer veterans the services needed to treat military sexual trauma.

The expanded service is made possible through the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014.

For decades, the military ignored sexual assault of its service members, U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., told The Billings Gazette. “All survivors of military sexual assault need access to quality care – including mental health care – just like veterans who served in combat.”

Tester, a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, said he is pleased the VA recognizes that military sexual trauma “can no longer be swept under the rug.”

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