12/03/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 12/03/2021 12:51
(U.S. Senate) - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is announcing a new, zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment following a bipartisan push from Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-Ark.) to make the agency more inclusive, welcoming, and safe for women veterans and for all.
"Passage of our bipartisan Deborah Sampson Act sent a very important message that Congress came together to deliver a law that supports the women who bravely served our country," said Tester. "This new policy makes clear that VA is honoring our commitment to better serving women veterans, and together we will continue working to ensure the Department provides them a safe and welcoming environment where the voices of all veterans are heard and respected."
"Improving VA's culture to make it more inclusive for women veterans is necessary to fulfilling our promise to all of our nation's veterans. Implementation of the Deborah Sampson Act will ensure the VA is positioned to better serve the needs of women who wore our nation's uniform. This updated approach is a good step to breaking down the barriers that have prevented women veterans from getting the care they earned from the VA," Boozman said.
Senators Tester and Boozman introduced, and successfully championed, the Deborah Sampson Act last Congress-which included provisions requiring VA to create an anti-harassment and anti-sexual assault policy, provide women veterans with bolstered health care and support services, establish an Office of Women's Health directly under the Under Secretary for Health of VA, and improve access to care and benefits for survivors of Military Sexual Trauma (MST). These provisions were included as part of an end-of-year veterans' package signed into law by the President at the beginning of 2021.