Peace Corps Seeks Public Input as Agency Develops Roadmap to Strengthen its Sexual Assault Risk Reduction and Response Program

December 2, 2021

Today, the Peace Corps announced the next phase of its work to strengthen the agency’s Sexual Assault Risk Reduction and Response (SARRR) program. From December 2 to December 16, the public is invited to submit input and feedback about the Peace Corps’ efforts to enhance systems that support sexual assault risk mitigation and provide care to survivors.

Following the release of the 2021 Sexual Assault Advisory Council (SAAC) report in November, Peace Corps leadership is conducting a comprehensive review of the recommendations outlined in the report and preparing a roadmap that outlines the future of the SARRR program to be released publicly in early 2022.

“Last month, we received expert recommendations that incorporate emerging best practices from SAAC members that will inform the next phase of our work. It is critically important that we also hear from returned volunteers, the broader Peace Corps network and the American public,” said Peace Corps Chief Executive Officer Carol Spahn. “I invite anyone who has specific suggestions to submit their input for consideration as we develop our roadmap, help shift norms around sexual violence and provide victim-centered and trauma-informed care to survivors.”

Since the spring, the Peace Corps has made significant progress toward improving volunteer safety and sexual assault risk reduction and response efforts. In October, the agency released an update on specific, systemic improvements to sexual assault related policies and procedures that have been implemented prior to volunteers’ return to in-person service overseas.

Comments can be submitted starting today via [email protected].* Commenters may include their name and contact information if they choose. Peace Corps staff will carefully review the feedback and consider actions that can be incorporated into the agency’s roadmap, as appropriate.

Returned volunteers who have been impacted by sexual violence, or any crime while serving in the Peace Corps, can contact the Office of Victim Advocacy (OVA), which is available 24 hours a day and can provide confidential services and referrals, by phone or text at 202-409-2704 and email at [email protected] All Peace Corps staff members are required to immediately notify OVA when they lean of a sexual assault that occurred against a volunteer during Peace Corps service.

*Privacy Act Statement

The Peace Corps, an agency of the federal government, is required by the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a) to advise you of the following information. The Peace Corps follows the requirements of the Privacy Act which protects personal information that the agency maintains and uses in its systems of records (SORs).

Authority: The Peace Corps Act of 1961, as amended; 22 U.S.C. § 2507b - Sexual Assault policy.

Purpose: The primary use of any response information is to consider feedback and recommendations from the public, including Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, on the agency’s sexual assault mitigation and response efforts.

Routine Uses: Use of the information collected is restricted to the purpose cited in this privacy statement or unless the disclosure is otherwise permitted under the provisions of the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a (b) "Conditions of disclosure," and the agency’s privacy policy. The information collected may be shared with federal, state, and local government agencies; the Office of Management and Budget; members of Congress; the Department of Justice; the Office of Personnel Management; U.S. Ambassadors; in litigation; and with other federal entities when there is a suspected or confirmed breach compromise, as described in the Peace Corps' published general routine uses A through M. For information on these routine uses, click on the link to the Peace Corps Privacy webpage: https://www.peacecorps.gov/about/privacy/. The information collection from Returned Peace Corps Volunteers is covered by System of Records Notice PC-18, Former Peace Corps Volunteers and Staff Database, and a revised SORN to include public response to the SARRR program is pending. The agency is committed to ensuring that any personal information it receives is safeguarded against unauthorized disclosure.

Disclosure: Providing a response or comment about the SARRR program roadmap is voluntary. However, failure to provide any information may result in your feedback not being considered or incorporated into the agency’s SARRR program roadmap.

About the Peace Corps:  The Peace Corps is an international service network of volunteers, community members, host country partners and staff who are driven by the agency’s mission of world peace and friendship. At the invitation of governments around the world, Peace Corps volunteers work alongside community members on locally-prioritized projects in the areas of education, health, environment, agriculture, community economic development and youth development. Through service, members of the Peace Corps network develop transferable skills and hone intercultural competencies that position them to be the next generation of global leaders. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, more than 240,000 Americans have served in 142 countries worldwide. For more information, visit peacecorps.gov and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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