In-Service Sexual & Physical Assaults

PTSD claims based upon in-service assaults, especially sexual assaults, present unique problems of corroboration. Because of the sensitive nature of sexual assaults, many victims do not report them. As such, there will rarely be documentation or other written memorial of the assault. Because of this problem, the VA has relaxed the evidentiary requirements for corroborating this type of in-service stressor:

If a post-traumatic stress disorder claim is based on in-service personal assault, evidence from sources other than the veteran’s service records may corroborate the veteran’s account of the stressor incident. Examples of such evidence include, but are not limited to: records from law enforce authorities, rape crisis centers, mental health counseling centers, hospitals, or physicians; pregnancy tests or tests for sexually transmitted diseases; and statements from family members, roommates, fellow service members, or clergy. Evidence of behavior changes following the claimed assault is one type of relevant evidence that may be found in these sources. § 3.304(f)(3) (emphasis added).

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