Sunday, January 6, 2013

New Year, New Peace Corps?

Happy New Year from First Response Action!

Several reports have been issued about Peace Corps' implementation thus far of the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act of 2011.

The GAO (Government Accountability Office) was tasked to produce a report about Peace Corps' compliance with providing medical support to Volunteers. The report, Labor and Peace Corps Need Joint Approach to Monitor Access to and Quality of Health Care Benefits, can be found here.

The outside expert panel created by the Kate Puzey Act, the Sexual Assault Advisory Council, issued their own report which can be found here. The council is comprised of professionals in the field of sexual violence in both governmental and non-governmental agencies as well as Returned Volunteers.

Peace Corps has issued a document outlining their implementation of the Kate Puzey Act so far. Interim Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said, "I am proud that the Peace Corps has instituted significant measures to reduce the risks of violence against volunteers and help ensure our volunteers receive the best possible training and support.”

First Response Action has poured over the various reports and we are working on our report synthesizing the improvements. We hope to have it ready soon for publishing. Keep your eyes on the blog for updates.

In the meantime, what do YOU think? What have you read? Have you spoken with volunteers who are currently-serving? Are YOU a volunteer who is currently-serving? How does the sexual assault training prepare you for service? How are in-country staff responding to survivors? Please email or reply on this blog with your responses.

It's a new year and quite possibly the beginning of a new Peace Corps.