senate Bill S909
(D, WF) 21st Senate District
- In Committee
- On Floor Calendar
- Passed Senate
- Passed Assembly
- Delivered to Governor
- Signed/Vetoed by Governor
Provides information on where to seek help regarding sexual trauma in the military.
- Legislative Cycle:
- Current Committee:
- Senate Veterans, Homeland Security And Military Affairs
- Law Section:
- Mental Hygiene Law
- Laws Affected:
- Amd §7.09, Ment Hyg L
- Versions Introduced in 2011-2012 Legislative Cycle:
TITLE OF BILL:
to amend the mental hygiene law, in relation to developing
plans to adequately address military sexual trauma experienced by female
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:
To disseminate information to female veterans and make available at
the Office of Mental Health and Department of Veteran Affairs
websites where they can seek treatment and counseling for Military
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
Section 1 Amends section 7.09 of the mental hygiene law by adding new
subdivision k: The Commissioner of Mental Health shall promulgate
rules and regulations to disseminate information to female veterans,
when applicable, regarding which veterans affairs centers and other
organizations such female veterans can seek treatment, counseling and
resources for Military Sexual Trauma (MST). Such information shall be
Posted on the offices website with a link to the website of the
United States Department of Veterans Affairs and a link to the State
Division of Veterans' Affairs.
Subdivision 1: The Commissioner shall establish peer counseling and
support services regarding Military Sexual Trauma for female veterans
at one or more veterans affairs facilities if deemed appropriate and
In many instances those veterans who have returned home from combat
and/or have completed their tour of duty have had a myriad of
experiences that sometimes adversely affect them. The experiences and
events they go through can sometimes lead to Post Traumatic Stress
However, female veterans can also go through traumatic experiences
that are not discussed as often as PTSD. One trauma they go through
in particular is Military Sexual Trauma (MST). The definition of MST
used by the Department of Veteran Affairs is: psychological trauma,
which in the judgment of a VA mental health professional, resulted
from a physical assault of a sexual nature, battery of a sexual
nature, or sexual harassment which occurred while the Veteran was
serving on active duty or active duty for training.
It is imperative that information of where to seek treatment and coun-
seling for Military Sexual Trauma is afforded to female veterans and
posted or. the Department of Veterans Affairs website. Providing
these veterans with this information will enable them to know where
to go for help and services.
The Department of Veteran Affairs states that in a screening for
military personnel seeking VA healthcare 1 in 5 women responded "yes"
when screened for MST. However, according to pentagon statistics
nearly 1 in 3 women in the military is at risk for sexual assault,
twice as many as in the general population. In March 2008, the
Department of Defense (DoD) released their fourth annual sexual
assault report, which stated that there were 2,688 reports of sexual
assault in 2007. Although this is down from the 2,947 allegations of
sexual assaults reported in 2006, the DoD changed their reporting
requirements from calendar year to fiscal year, so there is no way to
tell if this reflects a decrease in sexual assaults or not.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2011-12: S.6342D - Died in Veterans and Homeland Security
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: Unknown.
This act shall take effect immediately.
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