Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act
President Obama signed into law, on November 21, 2011, landmark legislation to further support Peace Corps volunteers who are subjected to sexual assault and other forms of violence. Read more about the bill signing here.
NPCA would like to congratulate all advocates who made their voice heard in passing this legislation. Congratulations to the leadership of the Congress and the Peace Corps, who worked through various versions of the legislation to build the momentum to passage. Finally and especially, congratulations to the members of the groups First Response Action and Kate’s Voice, for their steadfast and passionate work which led to the passage of this landmark legislation.
Be sure to contact your lawmakers to thank them for passing this legislation.
- On June 27, 2011, legislation was introduced in the Senate and House to provide further protections and support for Peace Corps Volunteers who are subjected to physical and sexual assault.
- Legislation in the Senate (S. 1280) and the House of Representatives (H.R. 2337) is named after Benin Peace Corps Volunteer Kate Puzey, who was murdered during her service after reporting on a teaching colleague who was alleged to be sexually abusing some of his students. The Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act of 2011 was introduced in the Senate by Johnny Isakson (R-GA). Similar House legislation was introduced by Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX).
- Kate Puzey’s family and supporters of Kate’s Voice were instrumental in introducing and advancing the legislation, as was the group First Response Action, which was formed in 2009 by Peace Corps Volunteer survivors of sexual assault.
- Both groups have praised the Peace Corps in recent months for a number of steps taken to address the issues, but believe legislation is still needed to further improve training and support services and to ensure that such improvements carry on in the future when succeeding administrations bring new leadership at the agency.
- A June 23, 2011 statement from Director Aaron Williams notes “The Peace Corps welcomes the work of Congress on this important issue and looks forward to continuing our joint efforts to improve our response to sexual assaults and other crimes.” Read more about Peace Corps efforts to address the issue.
- NPCA has sent a letter to congressional leaders expressing support for the legislation while offering a couple of modifications and expressing ongoing concerns about overall funding necessary to implement improvements while sustaining current programs. Read NPCA’s letter.
- On November 1st, The House of Representatives unanimously approved the Senate version of the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act (S.1280) by a vote of 406 to zero. Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) introduced the legislation which passed unanimously in the Senate on September 26th. The bill now goes to President Obama to be signed into law.
Follow this link for a summary of the legislation (prepared by Sen. Isakson’s office)