The 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is being considered a boon to the elimination of military sexual assault, and could improve support for victims, which may include veterans mental health services. Many of the provisions in the bill are targeted toward better investigation and improved military reporting of cases of military sexual assault.
Some of the highlights of the bill include:
- Formation of an independent review panel to examine how the Defense Department investigates and prosecutes military sexual assault cases.
- Prohibiting recruitment of civilians who have been previously convicted of felony sexual assault.
- Improving data collection and reporting of military sexual assault cases.
- Notifying servicemembers of resources and rights following an assault.
- Extending restricted report documentation to up to 50 years (if the victim wishes) so victims can receive veterans mental health or physical treatment while remaining anonymous.
In 2011 the Department of Defense reported 3,192 cases of military sexual assault. Officials believe this number is significantly higher – potentially as high as 19,000, according to Stars and Stripes. One of the reasons the data on sexual assaults and harassment is so skewed may be due to the lingering stigma of reporting such incidents.
Veterans who have suffered trauma from a military sexual assault may develop veterans mental health issues such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Even those who file a report of the assault and seek help may still suffer mental disorders and physical harm from the incident.
The Law Offices of Veterans Help Group is ready to help disabled veterans who suffer physical or mental disorders due to injuries or exposures during their military service. To learn if you are entitled to certain programs and benefits contact our veteran’s disability rights firm today – 1-855-855-8992.