Military Sexual Trauma

Statistics show that most victims of sexual assault know their attackers and that 85 to 90 percent of assaults are alcohol related. (Air Force photo illustration by Margo Wright)

Military sexual trauma (MST) is the term that the VA uses to refer to sexual assault or repeated, threatening sexual harassment that happened to a person on active duty.

VA health care professionals provide counseling and treatment to help veterans overcome health issues related to MST. Veterans who aren't otherwise eligible for VA health care or disability can still get these services. You also didn't have to reported the incident(s) when they happened or have other documentation that they occurred.

Both women and men can experience MST, so all veterans seen at VA health facilities are asked about experiences of sexual trauma. 

Treatment Services

The VA offers free, confidential treatment for mental and physical health conditions related to MST including:

Outpatient Care

  • Every VA health care facility has providers knowledgeable about treatment for problems related to MST. Because MST is associated with a range of mental health problems, VA's general services for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)depressionanxietysubstance abuse, and others are important resources for MST survivors.
  • Many VA facilities have specialized outpatient mental health services focusing specifically on sexual trauma.
  • Many Vet Centers also have specially trained sexual trauma counselors.

Residential/Inpatient Care

  • VA has programs that offer specialized MST treatment in a residential or inpatient setting. These programs are for veterans who need more intense treatment and support.
  • Because some veterans do not feel comfortable in mixed-gender treatment settings, some facilities have separate programs for men and women. All residential and inpatient MST programs have separate sleeping areas for men and women.

How can I get more information about services?

Knowing that MST survivors may have special needs and concerns, every VA health care facility has an MST Coordinator who serves as a contact person for MST-related issues. He or she can help veterans find and access VA services and programs.

You can also contact your local Vet Center or speak to your existing VA health care provider.

You can also call VA's general information hotline at 1-800-827-1000.

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