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Ernst, Bipartisan Colleagues Introduce Measure to Strengthen Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Prevention Policies in the Military

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), joined by her colleagues Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.), and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), introduced a new measure that would assess and strengthen best practices for preventing sexual assault and domestic violence within the military. 

The bipartisan Protecting our Servicemembers through Proven Methods Act would direct the Secretary of Defense to collect comprehensive data on the causes of sexual assault, harassment, and domestic violence in the military.

“I’ve long said we need to prioritize preventing sexual abuse in our military, and this bipartisan effort is an important step toward doing just that by ensuring the DOD has both the best and most comprehensive data and is held accountable to provide top-notch sexual assault prevention and response training to our servicemembers,” said Senator Ernst, a sexual assault survivor and the first female combat veteran elected to the U.S. Senate.

“America’s servicemembers have answered the call to defend this nation and we must ensure they too are protected,” said Senator Cornyn. “This legislation would improve the policies and procedures to keep our brave men and women in uniform safe and root out some of the causes of sexual assault and domestic violence in the military.”

“We’re improving the Department of Defense’s ability to protect Arizona servicemembers from sexual assault, harassment, and domestic violence,” said Senator Sinema. “I’ll keep working to ensure our servicemembers are treated with dignity and respect.”

“Our servicemembers are still falling victim to sexual assault and domestic violence, despite decades of efforts to combat it,” said Senator Tillis. “We still don’t have sufficient data on why it continues to happen, which is why we introduced this legislation to enhance data collection within the Department of Defense. Understanding the causes and reasoning behind sexual assault and domestic violence will enhance the protection of our servicemembers by strengthening preventative measures.”

“Our servicemembers put their lives on the line when they choose to join the military, and they should never experience sexual assault or domestic violence as a result of that choice,” said Senator Rubio. “This bill will help address and prevent these abuses within our military.”

“Our bipartisan bill to strengthen protections for military servicemembers against sexual assault and domestic violence is essential as too many of our nation’s heroes continue to be targeted while they serve,” said Senator Ossoff.


  • This legislation would improve sexual assault and domestic violence prevention policies within the Department of Defense (DoD) by directing the DoD to collect data on the causes behind sexual assault, harassment, and domestic violence in the military. This legislation would also require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to compare those causes with similar data from civilian communities, other federal civilian agencies, and public universities.
  • Ernst has worked to combat sexual assault in and outside the military since first arriving to the Senate in 2015. Last year, several of Ernst’s provisions to prevent military sexual assault were included in the FY22 NDAA and signed into law. This year she co-led the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA) of 2022.