Susanne Binford

LCSW, DSW candidate

Military Sexual Trauma: The VA Screening Process


Military sexual trauma has garnered more attention in the last few decades since the Tailhook scandal in 1991. The Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs have developed policies and procedures to more adequately address the problem. In 1999, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) issued a mandate to conduct an assessment for military sexual trauma for every veteran who enters their care. This presentation will examine the VA’s process through the theoretical frameworks of institutional betrayal theory and feminist theory with a review of the current literature. There will be an exploration of the complexities of military sexual trauma and whether there is a benefit for the VA to use a different method for its assessment.


Susanne Binford is a Doctorate of Social Work (DSW) candidate at the University of Kentucky College of Social Work. She also holds a Masters of Science in Social Work (MSSW) from the University of Louisville Kent School of Social Work. She earned an undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of California, Riverside. Ms. Binford plans to use her DSW to pursue a leadership position.

Ms. Binford is currently working as a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in the trauma recovery program. She treats veterans who have trauma-related disorders using empirically supported trauma-focused treatments.

Ms. Binford has a particular interest in research about military sexual trauma. Her capstone is about the screening process at the VA for military sexual trauma (MST). She has a journal paper in review with the Victims and Violence journal that addresses how the VA assesses for MST.