Hearing to Address Reports of Rapes at VA Centers

June 13, 2011 - 3:26 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Veterans Affairs officials say the agency is making improvements to protect patients in treatment facilities from rape after Congress' investigative arm found nearly 300 reports of sexual assaults in facilities over three years.

The Government Accountability Office says 67 of the reports involved an alleged rape in one of its approximately 300 in-treatment facilities. The alleged perpetrators and victims were both veterans and staff members. It says clinicians have expressed concern about the safety of female veterans housed near veterans who had committed sexual crimes.

It says the VA relies too heavily on patients to identify themselves as sexual predators, and that such crimes were too often not reported to proper authorities.

VA officials say they take such claims seriously.

The issue will be addressed at a hearing Monday.