WASHINGTON — The Senate approved legislation yesterday seeking greater protections for victims of sexual assault in the military.
epresentative Niki Tsongas from Massachusetts won House approval of similar legislation that would give victims of sexual assault in the military, mostly women, the right to legal counsel, confidentiality and transfer to another base. It would also expand programs to prevent sexual assaults within the military’s ranks.
The Senate version was authored by Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts and approved, 93-7, as part of a broader defense bill. The legislation would require the Pentagon to do a better job in addressing allegations of sexual assault, of which only 8 percent of cases lead to prosecution in the military, according to Kerry’s office.
“Sexual assault has no place in our society, and when its victims are Americans who put their lives on the line in defense of our country, it’s particularly appalling,” said Kerry, a veteran of the Vietnam War.