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The Wall Street Journal - Congress Seeks to Prevent Rapes at VA Facilities

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Location: Washington, DC

By Associated Press

A Veterans Affairs official told a congressional panel on Monday the agency is making improvements to protect patients from rape in treatment facilities after Congress' investigative arm found nearly 300 reports of sexual assaults in the centers over three years.

Clinicians have expressed concern about the safety of female veterans housed near veterans who had committed sexual crimes, which prompted the Government Accountability Office review, Randall B. Williamson, director of health care with GAO, testified.

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Reps. Ann Marie Buerkle, R-N.Y., who chaired the House Veterans' Affairs subcommittee hearing Monday, and Jeff Miller, R-Fla., chairman of the full House Veterans' Affairs Committee, have filed legislation that would force the VA to better track such attacks and maintain security systems in facilities.

"This is not the way to run a health care system and it is certainly not the way to treat the men and women who sacrificed so much on behalf of our nation," Buerkle said.

Data was not immediately available to compare sexual assault incidents in VA facilities to those in similar facilities run by the private sector.


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