Contact: John Hoellwarth
National Communications Director
AMVETS (American Veterans)
jhoellwarth -at- amvets -dot- org
AMVETS National Headquarters, October 10, 2018 – AMVETS today is expressing its support for H.R. 6869, the Violence Against Women Veterans Act.
The bill, if passed, calls for better integration of Department of Veterans Affairs benefits with existing community-based domestic violence and sexual assault services.
In a letter to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez, AMVETS Executive Director Joseph Chenelly wrote, “there are still too many women veterans suffering in silence from the short and long-term health effects of domestic violence, an issue that impacts women veterans in particular at a higher rate than non-veteran women at large.”
The bill follows efforts dating back to 1988 when the VA established the Women Veterans Health Program to improve the delivery of services for women veterans. While the title of the legislation only mentions support for women, the provisions of the bill are intended to support all victims of domestic or sexual violence, regardless of gender.
“AMVETS launched the HEAL Program earlier this year for the purpose of confronting the problems that lead to crisis, and that includes curbing domestic violence to the greatest extent possible,” said Chenelly. “Our goal is to finally bring these veterans out of the shadows and provide them the support they need.”
The legislation had 81 cosponsors as of Friday, including five Republican lawmakers. Of those, three – Reps. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., Walter Jones, R-N.C., and Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y. – serve on the House Armed Services Committee and Rep. Aumua Amata Radewagen, R-American Samoa, is on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
AMVETS is the nation’s most inclusive Congressionally-chartered veterans service organization, representing the interests of more than 20 million veterans. It is open to and fights for all veterans who served honorably, including reservists & guardsmen. AMVETS has been a nonpartisan advocate for veterans and their families for more nearly 75 years. amvets.org