The Miles Foundation focused its efforts during Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) on local, state and national initiatives to enhance investigations, response, services and treatment for survivors of military sexual trauma (MST). The Foundation continues to collaborate with local, state, national and international organizations to enhance the response to sexual and domestic violence associated with armed forces.
Research data indicates that a significant number of reserve and guard members are victimized by sexual harassment and assault while deployed on active duty. A needs assessment survey concludes that services for returning guard and reservists are severely lacking. The needs include physical and mental health services, shelter, transitional housing, employment opportunities, etc.
Active duty, guard members, reservists, veterans and family members remain concerned about privacy and confidentiality when accessing services. Several initiatives were designed to specifically address barriers to services for military personnel and family members.
ARIZONA-Governor Janet Napolitino sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Gates requesting an investigation into sexual abuse in the armed forces and identification of services to address rehabilitation and mental health needs of female veterans.
CALIFORNIA-The Foundation continues to partner with local veterans' organizations, community service providers and government entities to ensure services including facilities for female veterans, particularly mothers, seeking inpatient services in the community. Female veterans face serious decisions when choosing inpatient services between civilian community providers and veterans' administration. Often, female veterans must relinquish children to a caregiver or the state in order to access inpatient services.
CONNECTICUT-The state legislature approved funding for returning reserve and guard members to receive mental health treatment from civilian service providers including diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder and military sexual trauma. The state will reimburse civilian service providers in order to address issues of privacy and confidentiality of communications, a barrier to seeking services among military personnel, family members and veterans.
KANSAS-Governor Kathleen Sebelius sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Gates requesting a full investigation into the treatment and condition of military women who are deployed; end of sexual abuse in the armed forces; and treatment services to address the mental health and rehabilitation needs of female veterans.
NEW MEXICO-The state legislature approved funding to civilian rape crisis centers for outreach and services to female veterans. The funding, $375,000, is intended to provide services to the 15,000 female veterans in the state. A study of outreach services to female veterans was also funded by the legislature.
PENNSYLVANIA-The Foundation in conjunction with veterans' organizations and labor unions is seeking additional funding sources to support services for homeless female veterans including mental health services to address post traumatic disorder and military sexual trauma.
If I can provide information and/or details of the initiatives, please contact me at 203-270-7861 or Milesppd@aol.com (private office email).
J. E. Pritchard, Public Policy Director
the miles foundation, inc.
p. o. box 423
newtown, connecticut 06470-0423