Peace Corps Director Welcomes Signing of Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act
Law codifies many reforms agency has implemented
WASHINGTON, D.C., November 21, 2011President Obama signed into law the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act of 2011, codifying a number of the reforms the Peace Corps has put into place over the past two years to better protect and support Volunteers. The Act is named in honor of Kate Puzey, a Peace Corps volunteer who died while serving in Benin in 2009.
I thank President Obama for signing this important legislation and Senators Johnny Isakson and Barbara Boxer and Representatives Ted Poe, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Howard Berman for working diligently to pass the legislation, said Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams.
Kate Puzey was an outstanding Peace Corps volunteer who represented the best America has to offer with her passion for service and commitment to making the world a better place, and this law is a tribute to her legacy. I am grateful to the Puzey family and all returned Peace Corps volunteers who have worked with us to better support volunteers serving overseas. This law marks an important milestone for Peace Corps and ensures that Peace Corps volunteers will continue to receive the best support and protection.
The new law codifies and expands many of the reforms the agency has put in place to enhance safety and security and ensure compassionate and effective response and support to all volunteers. The Peace Corps has:
- Hired a nationally recognized leader in victims rights to serve as the agencys first victim advocate. Victims of crime can now turn to a skilled and experienced Peace Corps staff member dedicated to making certain volunteers receive the emotional, medical, legal, and other support they need both during and after their service.
- Updated and expanded training for volunteers and staff on sexual assault awareness, risk-reduction strategies, bystander intervention, and reporting and response procedures.
- Created an external body of leading experts in the field of sexual assault and returned Peace Corps volunteers to provide advice on Peace Corps sexual assault risk reduction and response strategies.
- Established procedures to ensure that allegations by Peace Corps volunteers are handled confidentially and appropriately.
For more detailed information on Peace Corps commitment to volunteers, safety and security practices or recent reforms please visit the Peace Corps website.
About the Peace Corps: President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961, by executive order. Throughout 2011, Peace Corps is commemorating 50 years of promoting peace and friendship around the world. Historically, more than 200,000 Americans have served with the Peace Corps to promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of 139 host countries. Today, 9,095 volunteers are working with local communities in 75 host countries. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment. Visit www.peacecorps.gov for more information.