U.S. Army MWR
 


Victim Advocacy Program
(*No official U.S. Army or Department of Defense endorsement implied by use of external links)

 
The Family Advocacy Program: Victim Advocacy Services Program provides comprehensive assistance and support to victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault, including crisis intervention, safety planning, assistance in securing medical treatment for injuries, information on legal rights and proceedings, and referral to military and civilian shelters and other resources available to victims. Victim Advocacy services are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week to Soldiers and Family members.
 
 
Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center (http://www.866uswomen.org(*external link) 
 
The Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center can be reached internationally toll-free from 175 countries. To contact the toll-free crisis line from overseas, first dial your AT&T USADirect access number and at the prompt, enter our phone number: 866-USWOMEN (879-6636). The center serves abused Americans, mostly women and children, in both civilian and military populations overseas.
 
Reporting Options Card
 
Soldiers and Family members who experience domestic abuse are encouraged to report the incident. Find out more about your options for restricted and unrestricted reporting.
 
Victim Advocacy Resources:
 
 
 
Domestic Violence and the Army
 
The Army’s Commitment:
 
In October 2007, the Army pledged its enduring commitment to Soldiers and Family members by signing the Army Family Covenant. The Covenant recognizes Family members’ health and well-being as paramount to sustaining mission readiness and commits the Army to providing Family members with a strong, supportive environment where they can thrive. Domestic abuse undermines the Army’s promise and negatively impacts Family Readiness. The Army Family Advocacy Program’s Victim Advocacy Services are integral to the Army’s efforts to uphold its commitment to provide Soldiers and Family members with a strong, supportive environment.
 
The Department of Defense Definition of Domestic Abuse:
 
Domestic Violence: An offense under the United States Code, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or State law involving the use, attempted use, or threatened use of force or violence against a person of the opposite sex, which is: 
  1. A current or former spouse.
  2. A person with whom the abuser shares a child in common.
  3. A current or former intimate partner with whom the abuser shares or has shared a common domicile.
Sharing a common domicile is defined as signing a lease together or living in the same residence for at least 30 days (Army housing standard).
 
Source: DOD Instruction 6400.07, Domestic Abuse Involving DOD Military and Certain Affiliated Personnel, 21 Aug 07.
 

 
Focus on: Victim Advocates
 
What is a Victim Advocate?
 
A Victim Advocate (VA) is a trained professional who provides non-clinical advocacy services and support to Soldiers and Family members experiencing domestic abuse. Victim Advocates are on-call 24 hours a day 7 days week to provide immediate assistance, safety planning, non-judgmental support and information on available resources.
 
What Services can I expect from a Victim Advocate?
 
A Victim Advocate can provide you with: 
  • Crisis intervention and support
  • Safety assessment and planning
  • Information on reporting options
  • Coordination of emergency services, transportation, housing, food, etc.
  • Information on the Transitional Compensation Program
  • Assistance in obtaining military and civilian protective orders   
  • Accompaniment through the medical, investigative and legal processes
  • Representation of victim’s interest at Family Advocacy Case Review Committee meetings
  • Information and referral services
 
 
FAMILY ADVOCACY PROGRAM
 
Domestic Abuse

  1. Restricted Reporting Option
    • Does not initiate the investigative process, neither law enforcement nor the command are notified with personal identifiable information
    • Allows the victim of domestic violence to confidentially disclose the incident to the Victim Advocate, the Victim Advocate’s Supervisor and Healthcare Provider (including FAP clinical social workers and their supervisors)
    • Allows victim to receive:
      • Medical treatment
      • A forensic examination
      • Advocacy services
      • Clinical Counseling
      • Pastoral Counseling
    • Garrison Commander is notified of non-identifying information only
    • Benefits:
      • Victim receives medical treatment, advocacy, and counseling services
      • Provides victim some personal space and time to consider options
      • Victim controls release and management of his/her personal information
      • Victim decides whether or not to move forward with an investigation
      • Victim can elect unrestricted reporting at any time
      • May increase the victim’s trust in the system
      • May encourage other victims of abuse to come forward
    • Limitations:
      • Offender is not held accountable and may continue to be abusive
      • Victim cannot receive Military Protective Order (MPO)
      • Offender may continue to have contact with the victim
      • Evidence from the crime scene could be lost and could impede the official investigation if the victim chooses to switch to an unrestricted report
      • If assessment reveals high risk for future injury, a restricted report may not be granted
      • If the victim discloses the abuse to someone other than the specified individuals, these actions may alert the command or law enforcement who may initiate an investigation. The report will become unrestricted
  2. Unrestricted Reporting Option
    • Army Policy favors unrestricted reporting
    • Command and investigative services notified
    • Allows victim to receive:
      • Medical treatment
      • A forensic examination
      • Advocacy services
      • Clinical Counseling
      • Pastoral Counseling
      • Protective services
    • Benefits:
      • Victim receives medical treatment, advocacy, and counseling services
      • Ensures the widest range of rights and protections to the victim (Military and Civilian Protective orders)
      • Commander support including separation from offender
      • Full investigation enhances opportunity to hold offender accountable (crime scene, witness interviews, suspect interrogation)
    • Limitations:
      • Cannot change to restricted reporting
      • Victim may consider the investigative process intrusive
      • Information about the domestic abuse incident will be in the public domain
      • Requires the victim to face the offender
      • Investigation and court proceedings might be lengthy
      • There is never a guarantee that the offender will be convicted in either a court-martial or a civilian court
 
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