December 13, 2019

Chairman Takano: “VA is a leading provider of evidence-based treatment to survivors of MST”

Press Contact

Jenni Geurink (202-225-9756)

Carina Armenta (202-225-5811)

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (CA-41) and Subcommittee on Health Chairwoman Julia Brownley (CA-26) released the following statements on the new Department of Veterans Affairs Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2019 on Counseling, Care, and Services Provided to Veterans and Active Duty Servicemembers who Experienced Military Sexual Trauma (MST).

“When women veterans can access VA healthcare, they benefit from some of the best care in the world,” said Chairman Mark Takano. “VA remains a leading provider of evidence-based treatment to survivors of military sexual assault, and this Committee is committed to ensuring VA has the resources it needs to maintain that distinction.” 

“I have met with women veterans around the country who have told me that VA’s treatment for military sexual trauma helped save their lives,” said Congresswoman Brownley. “While the Department of Defense must take steps to reduce sexual violence in the ranks, the Women Veterans Task Force is committed to reducing barriers to access to life-long care when women leave the military.”

VA’s report found that the majority of MST-related care provided by VA each year is for mental healthcare and directly supports suicide prevention efforts by addressing PTSD, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and other important resources for survivors of MST. Additionally, the proportion of all veterans—both men and women—who screen positively for and receive treatment for military sexual trauma is increasing and most identify as women. Since Fiscal Year 2012, nearly all VA mental health providers are trained to provide this MST specific care. 

With the growth in the women veteran population and increased incidents of sexual violence in the military-- incidents of MST perpetuated against women are up 38 percent-- VA will only continue to see an increased demand for services for treating conditions associated with military sexual trauma. The Women Veterans Task Force, led by Chairwoman Brownley, will continue working to ensure these women veterans get the best evidence-based treatment available.

Find the full report here.