The Peace Corps still has more to do to address potential sexual assault of its volunteers even though it has made “significant progress” since the issue first came to light through whistleblower disclosures, the OSC has said.
OSC made its comments after reviewing a Peace Corps report on its response in which it cited measures to ensure that volunteers who are victims of sexual assault receive adequate counseling services and said it has taken action to address risks to volunteers while traveling.
However, the OSC said that the Peace Corps still needs to establish “clear, consistent, and effective policies to ensure the prevention of sexual assault and other crimes against volunteers, timely responses to safety risks, and the provision of adequate counseling services to volunteers who are sexually assaulted during their service.”
For example, it said that the agency needs to improve its applicant screening policies. “Volunteers who have reportedly engaged in sexual misconduct, including sexual assault, have been allowed to resign or interrupt service without any documentation in their volunteer records” and at least one had been rehired, the OSC said.
The OSC also said more training of co-workers and host families is needed, noting that 16 percent of assaults reported over 2011-2014 involved a host family member or a co-worker.