New bill would include Coast Guard in sex assault legislation

The Defense authorization bill passed in 2011 included the “STRONG Act,” which provided the right to legal assistance for sexual assault victims and the right to request a transfer away from the geographic location of an assailant on an expedited basis.

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Because the Coast Guard is not under the authority of the Defense Department, the provision did not apply.

Collins, Turner and Tsongas wrote to Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Robert Papp in February, saying they were concerned the Coast Guard hadn’t adopted an expedited transfer policy for sexual assault victims.

Papp responded in March saying that he asked his staff to review and update the Coast Guard’s policies to align with the STRONG Act.

“While the USCG has committed to implementing portions of the STRONG Act, it is important that federal law be updated to clarify that the protections provided by the legislation are extended to victims of sexual assault in the USCG,” the lawmakers said in a statement on the bill.