There have been nearly 300 alleged sexual assaults at Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities from 2007 to 2010. According to a recent report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), many of these incidents (even instances of rape) were never reported.
The GAO launched an investigation into claims that sexual assaults were going unreported by VA police officers. During the investigation, the GOA reviewed the VA’s safety policies, interviewed VA security officials and visited five VA medical facilities.
It was found that although VA police received reports of sexual assaults, they did not always pass the information along to VA management and the VA inspector general- which constitutes a regulatory violation.
The GOA report concluded that there were several factors that led to the underreporting of sexual assaults in VA hospitals including:
Of the 284 alleged sexual assaults from January 2007 through July 2010:
Of those involved in alleged sexual assaults:
The GOA made several recommendations to help VA hospitals better track and report sexual assault allegations:
Additionally, the House Committee on Veterans Affairs requested the GOA report and has introduced legislation that would require the VA to track all sexual assaults and to monitor veterans that may pose a risk of committing sexual assault.