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Assembly bill would expand care for military veterans experiencing sexual trauma

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A bill that passed in the state Assembly on Tuesday would provide expanded medical care for military veterans who experienced military sexual trauma while in uniform.

Military sexual trauma is defined by the Department of Veterans Affairs as sexual assault or sexual harassment of soldiers while in uniform, either male or female. Department statistics show that about one in five female veterans tells her Veterans Health Administration health care provider about such incidents.

The bill, which passed by a 143-0 vote, would require the state Division of Veterans Affairs to create plans to help those who have experienced sexual trauma and to provide information to patients about available assistance and benefits.

The bill was sponsored by Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, D-Theresa.

“Our veterans have sacrificed so much for our country, and the very least we can do is provide them with the assistance they need after returning home from war,” she said in a prepared statement.

The bill will now head to the state Senate.

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