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Committee Examines Military Sexual Trauma Support Bill

On July 11, the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee held a hearing on several bills, including S. 833, the Servicemembers and Veterans Empowerment and Support Act, sponsored by Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT).

The legislation would expand the Department of Veterans Affairs’ coverage of counseling for sexual trauma to include “cyber harassment of a sexual nature” that the servicemember suffered “while serving on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training.”

Among other provisions, the bill would establish a standard of proof for service-connected mental health conditions related to military sexual trauma.

The following witnesses testified about S. 833:

  • Baligh Yehia, MD, deputy under secretary for Health for Community Care, Veterans Health Administration;
  • Louis Celli, director, National Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Division, The American Legion;
  • Amy Webb, national legislative policy advisor, AMVETS;
  • Adrian Atizado, deputy national legislative director, Disabled American Veterans; and
  • Gabriel Stultz, legislative counsel, Paralyzed Veterans of America.
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