Titus bill to expand rape counseling for Guard victims advances

WASHINGTON — The House voted Wednesday to expand rape counseling to members of the National Guard assaulted during required training.

The voice vote on a bill by Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., sought to close a loophole that limited benefits and treatment to sexual assault cases that take place during active Guard duty.

Titus called it “an unacceptable gap in the current law that leaves some victims of military sexual assault without the support that they need.” While awaiting call-up, Guard members generally train one weekend a month and two weeks a year.

The bill had bipartisan backing.

Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, said there was a duty to provide treatment to members of the armed services who are victims of sexual assault “regardless of when or where such violence took place.”

The Titus bill was introduced in June and had a hearing in March. It was brought to the House floor on Wednesday with four others dealing with veterans matters.