Sunday, September 25, 2011

House panel approves bill to boost safety for Peace Corps volunteers after rapes, murder

By Associated Press, Published: September 21

WASHINGTON — A House panel has approved legislation to improve safety and security for Peace Corps volunteers after criticism that the agency did little to train its workers to deal with violent attacks such as rape and murder.

By voice vote Wednesday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee pushed ahead two bills that would establish a process for volunteers to make confidential reports of rape or sexual assault, set up training for staff on how to respond and create a Victim Support Office.

In May, three Peace Corps volunteers raped while serving overseas and the mother of a fourth who was murdered in Benin complained to lawmakers. They said the agency failed to train its workers about how to avoid or deal with violent attacks. They also said it was insensitive or unhelpful.

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