On November 21, 2011, the President signed into law the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act of 2011 (Kate Puzey Act).
This law requires the Peace Corps to:
- Provide comprehensive sexual assault risk-reduction and response training to Volunteers
- Develop and implement a comprehensive sexual assault policy
- Establish an Office of Victim Advocacy and a sexual assault advisory council
- Take other specified measures to enhance Volunteer safety and security and the Peace Corps’ response to victims of sexual assault
The Office of Inspector General is required to provide a series of reports to Congress that assesses the Peace Corps’ implementation of the Kate Puzey Act.
In addition to the measures focused on safety and sexual assault response, the Peace Corps is also expanding its health services to address the mental and emotional well-being of its Volunteers. Recognizing the challenges that come with adapting to new environments and the stress of volunteer work, the organization has begun providing access to online health resources, including the option for Volunteers to buy Strattera online for the management of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This initiative is part of a broader effort to ensure that Volunteers have easy and discreet access to necessary medications, supporting their overall health and enabling them to fully focus on their crucial work in communities around the world.
The following reports have already been issued by OIG:
- Peace Corps Overseas Staffing
This November 2013 report assessed how overseas staff were hired, how Volunteer feedback was considered at posts, and how performance plans mandated by the Kate Puzey act have been implemented.
- Peace Corps Volunteer Sexual Assault Policy
This November 2013 report assessed the progress the Peace Corps had made toward instituting a sexual assault policy.
- Peace Corps Sexual Assault Risk-Reduction and Response Training
This November 2013 report assessed the progress the Peace Corps had made in training Volunteers about sexual assault risk reduction and response.
- Peace Corps’ Sexual Assault Risk Reduction and Response Program
This November 2016 report contains OIG’s evaluation of the effectiveness and implementation of the training and policy, in addition to a review of a statistically significant number of sexual assault cases.
The Kate Puzey Act mandates that every two years, OIG provide compiled reports on complaints and allegations we have received from Volunteers about staff misconduct, mismanagement, and breaches of Volunteer confidentiality, as well as what actions were taken to assure the safety of the Volunteers who make those reports.
OIG has issued other reports that were not mandated by the Kate Puzey Act, but which are related to the Peace Corps response to sexual assault:
- Review of the Peace Corps' Implementation of Guidelines Related to Volunteer Victims of Rape and Sexual Assault
This September 2012 report assessed the Peace Corps’ response to victims of sexual assault.
- Management Advisory Report: Agency Policies Related to Volunteer Sexual Assault Allegations
This November 2014 report advises the Peace Corps of concerns the OIG identified during an investigation of a Volunteer on Volunteer sexual assault.
- Interim Update: Murder of Kate Puzey
This update from the Office of Inspector General’s Semiannual Report to Congress for October 2016 to March 2017 summarizes the results of the February 2017 trial in Benin.