Yo, Peace Corps! Why isn’t the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act of 2011 fully implemented?

What is the problem? Why would anyone sign up for service when the law specifically designed to protect Peace Corps Trainees/Volunteers from sexual assault and to guarantee best practices response if such assault were to occur still is not fully in place? I think one would have to be a fool to volunteer now. Review the law and all the reports on compliance. Then ask yourself:  “Would you serve now?” “Why? or Why not?”

This is my contribution to what I hope is a continued vigorous discussion about the decline in Peace Corps applications. I still believe that Peace Corps is one of the best ways to work toward peace. This is all the more reason to demand that the agency be in full compliance.

Here is the law and all the reports on compliance. (Please note:  Peace Corps World Wide: John Coyne Babbles has previously posted all these reports.)

November 2011

The 112th Congress passed the Katy Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act of 2011 in November of 2011.

Here is the text to link to:


November 2012:

The Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act of 2011 mandated the creation of independent Peace Corps Volunteer Sexual Assault Advisory Council. That Council published its first annual report in November of 2012.  To read the report here is the text to link to: http://www.peacecorps.gov/resources/media/press/2150/

July 31, 2013

First Response Action is the group of brave RPCVs who mothered the law through Congress. On July 31, 2013, FRA issued a report card on Peace Corps’s compliance with the law giving the agency a “C”.   From the FRA website:

FRA Releases First Report Card Assessing Peace Corps’

Implementation of Kate Puzey Act

Highlights Gaps and Calls on Peace Corps To Promptly and Fully Implement the Law

Expresses Concerns With Peace Corps’ Outdated Sexual Assault Definitions and

Lack of Robust Whistleblower Program.

Here is the text to link to:


Please note:  ABC News highlighted this report card issued by First Response Action

August 1, 2013

Peace Corps issued a response to the First Response Action Report, posted on the new Peace Corps blog, Passport. The response did state that the Kate Puzey Volunteer Protection Act of 2011 was not yet fully implemented. The article promised “big news” about implementation in September. Here is the text to link to to read the report, posted on Peace Corps official new blog.


September 1, 2013

September 1, Peace Corps posted a glowing self-congratulatory 
piece on how much had been done towards improving Volunteer safety. However, the article also noted that the law, the Kate Puzey
Volunteer Protection Act of 2011, had not been fully implemented.

The article was posted on the new Peace Corps official blog, Passport. I asked the question, “What provisions of the law, have not been implemented?” My question was “under moderation” and then not posted, let alone answered. Why? I don’t know.

The text to link : “An Update On Keeping Volunteers Safe”


Finally, right now. First Action Response, the National Peace Corps Association, as well as many other RPCV and Reproductive Rights groups, are all advocating for the passage of the Peace Corps Equity Act. This Act would guarantee that Peace Corps Volunteer women  could access the same reproductive options as all federal employees in the event of a pregnancy that was the result of rape or incest or which threatened the life of the mother. Peace Corps fully supports the passage of this legislation. However, the publicity surrounding this advocacy may also unfortunately be advertising yet another current example of the vulnerability of women Peace Corps Volunteers.

One Comment

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  • Joanne,
    Thanks for illuminating these concerns. We all are eager to see these issues adequately addressed along with the issues our group is concerned with – specifically care of those PCVs with illness and injuries.
    Health Justice for Peace Corps Volunteers Founders

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