By Whitney Marris, Trauma Therapist and Director of Trauma-Informed Practice & System Transformation
NOTE: The enclosed is sample legislation from CTIPP’s 2022 Trauma-Informed Policy Development Highlights. It is meant to be educational and aspirational for trauma-informed advocacy.
Sample Legislation: Federal House of Representatives 6961
CTIPP Policy Dimension: Champion veterans, military members, and their families (>1% of trauma-informed bills ITTIC analyzed were aligned with this dimension)
Summary: This Democrat-led measure – the “Dignity for Military Sexual Trauma (MST) Survivors Act” – was signed into law in December of 2022.
It seeks to support and affirm veterans who experienced sexual trauma during their time serving in the military. Given the high prevalence of such experiences among veterans, the changes this measure makes could make a tremendous impact to support individuals as they navigate the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (“the Board”) claims appeal process – a process that itself increases the likelihood of re-traumatization among survivors.
The measure requires the VA to ensure each member of the Board takes an annual training on MST and proceedings that concern a claim for compensation based on MST. To support this process, the VA must audit the language used in letters sent to individuals to explain decisions denying claims for compensation based on MST, ultimately modifying the letters to ensure the use of trauma-informed language such that veterans are not re-traumatized through insensitive verbiage.
Additionally, the VA must establish protocols for medical providers and contract medical providers in its network to ensure that such providers use trauma-informed practices in conducting examinations in relation to claims for compensation based on MST, further defining that providers use language and carry out practices in a manner that: “is based on a knowledge of the awareness of the prevalence and impact of trauma on the physical, emotional, and mental health of an individual, the behaviors of the individual, and the engagement by the individual to services;” “is aimed at ensuring environments and services are welcoming and engaging to the individual who receives such services and the staff who provide such services;” and “ensures that language or practices do not re-traumatize the individual.”
Explore CTIPP’s 2022 Trauma-Informed Policy Development Highlights