Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act of 2011 (for Kate Puzey)

The USA Senate unanimously passed the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act of 2011. The legislation, which is named for a Georgia Peace Corps volunteer who was murdered in 2009 while serving in Africa, would provide better security and protection measures for Peace Corps volunteers. The legislation is named in honor of Kate Puzey, a 24-year-old Peace Corps volunteer from Cumming, Ga., who was murdered in 2009 in the West African village of Badjoude, Benin, soon after she had reported a colleague for allegedly molesting some of the young girls they taught.

The legislation provides whistleblower protection for Peace Corps volunteers, a safeguard that is currently in place for federal employees but not for Peace Corps volunteers. This type of protection would have given Kate more protection when she reported her allegations.

In addition, it requires the Peace Corps to develop sexual assault risk-reduction and response training and protocol in consultation with experts that complies with best practices in the sexual assault field. The training also is to be tailored to the specific countries in which volunteers serve.

For background, see Peace Corps must better address assaults and murders of members.

Also see this story from ABC news about the passage of this very important legislation.

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