Kuster Helps Pass Bill to Protect Military Sexual Assault Whistleblowers
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) helped pass bipartisan legislation that will enhance whistleblower protections for service members who report instances of sexual assault in the military. For weeks, Kuster has worked to help build support for H.R. 1684 among members of both parties, including many members of the freshman class.
“Today’s bipartisan vote is an important step forward in our efforts to put an end to sexual assault in the military,” Kuster said. “We have a responsibility to safeguard service members who report these crimes and ensure they are not retaliated against for doing the right thing, and that’s exactly what this bill will do. I’m grateful that so many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle recognize the need to act, and I look forward to this bill being signed into law.”
H.R. 1684 would strengthen military whistleblower protection laws to clarify that survivors of sexual crimes are protected from punishment for reporting sexual assault. Specifically, the legislation requires an Inspector General investigation into allegations of retaliatory personnel actions taken against service members who have reported alleged instances of rape, sexual assault, or other forms of sexual misconduct in the military. While existing law already provides important protections, H.R. 1684 would go a step further and provide our men and women in uniform with the assurance and peace of mind that they cannot be threatened or punished for reporting sexual assault.
Kuster has consistently spoken about the need for action to prevent military sexual trauma. Earlier this month, Kuster spoke on the House floor in support of their legislation and urged her colleagues from both parties to help move the legislation forward. In May, Kuster toured the new women’s center at the White River Junction VA Medical Center and spoke with staff about the need for improved services for survivors of military sexual trauma. Kuster also wrote an op-ed focused on the need for bipartisan action to better prevent and respond to sexual assault in the military.
Kuster is a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee and the bipartisan Military Sexual Assault Prevention Caucus.
Rob Friedlander, (202) 225-5206