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Cuomo Signs Vets Trauma Legislation

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo recently signed legislation (S.5006-A/A.2459-A) to help connect veterans who experienced sexual trauma while on active duty or during military training with vital information and resources.

The new law requires the Division of Veterans’ Services to maintain a Military Sexual Trauma Portal on its website where veterans can go to find information about where to seek treatment and counseling for military sexual trauma.

“Far too many veterans have experienced sexual trauma in the military, which can lead to life-long consequences and years of recovery,” Cuomo said. “It is our duty to support our veterans once they get home, and this new law will help survivors of military sexual trauma find the resources they need to seek help and counseling and move onto the next chapter of their lives.”

Military Sexual Trauma is defined by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs as psychological trauma which 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. The Department of Veteran Affairs states that in a screening for military personnel seeking VA healthcare one in five women responded “yes” when screened for Military Sexual Trauma. Additionally, according to Pentagon statistics, nearly one in three women in the military is at risk for sexual assault, twice as many as in the general population. This new law will make it easier for the women and men in the military who suffer from these traumatic experiences to have the information and resources they need to find help and treatment.

The new law will go into effect in 90 days. The legislation passed 136-0 in the state Assembly.

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