The Victim Advocacy Program (VAP) provides emergency and follow-up support services to adult victims of domestic abuse. Advocacy services are available to Service members, their current or former spouses, an individual with whom the Service member shares a child, and significant others of Service members who live together. Our services are available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

Our trained professionals are here for crisis response, information on reporting options, medical treatment options, law enforcement’s response, emergency services, safety planning, obtaining military and civilian protective orders, and accompaniment to medical forensic exams and medical appointments, as well as accompaniment to court for orders of protection hearings and trials. Advocates work closely with their civilian counterparts and ensure a personal and smooth transition for victims who do not qualify for ongoing advocacy services within the military community.

 

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Reporting Options

The Army is fully committed to ensuring victims of domesticabuse are protected; treated with dignity and respect; and provided support,advocacy and care. The Army strongly supports effective command awareness andprevention programs, and holding offenders accountable.

There are two types of reporting options: RestrictedReporting and Unrestricted Reporting. Personnel should report all suspectedcases of domestic abuse promptly, which quickly activates victim services andaccountability actions. However, we understand things might not always workthat way. Victims might need medical attention or victim services withoutcommand or a law enforcement response. Therefore, the Army has implemented aRestricted Reporting Option for victims to confidentially disclose allegationsof abuse and receive needed medical treatment and services.

Restricted Reporting

Allows someone who meets VAP criteria and who isexperiencing violence in his/her relationship to confidentially disclose theabuse to a Victim Advocate, a Victim Advocate Supervisor, or a HealthcareProvider. When an individual chooses a restricted report, law enforcement isnot involved and there is no investigation of the abuse. In addition, theSoldier’s Command is not notified of the abuse and is unable to offer assistanceand protection.

The restricted reporting option allows an individual toreceive medical treatment, advocacy services and clinical and pastoralcounseling. This option allows one to receive needed services, control therelease of his/her personal information, and time to consider his/her options.

Under this reporting option, the offender is not heldaccountable and the abuse may continue. If an assessment reveals a high riskfor future injury, a restricted report may not be granted.

Unrestricted Reporting

Victims of domestic abuse who want to pursue an officialinvestigation of an incident should report the abuse to law enforcement, or thealleged offender’s Commander. The unrestricted reporting option provides avictim with the widest array of services available including but not limited tocommand involvement, law enforcement involvement, medical treatment, advocacyservices, and counseling services.

Not all incidents of domestic abuse are the same, and eachperson who experiences domestic abuse handles the situation differently.

Command Response

Commanders play an integral part in ensuring the safety, health, and well-being of our Army Families. Commanders who learn of an incident of domestic abuse are required to notify the Family Advocacy Program.

Victim’s Rights

◦The right to be treated with fairness and with respect foryour dignity and privacy.

◦The right to be reasonably protected from the accusedoffender.

◦The right to be notified of court proceedings.

◦The right to present at all public court proceedingsrelated to the offense, unless the court determines that your testimony wouldbe materially affected if you as the victim heard other testimony at trial.

◦The right to confer with the attorney for the government inthe case; the right to available restitution; the right to information aboutthe conviction, sentencing, imprisonment, and release of the offender.

Safety Planning

A violent relationship puts you and your children at riskfor injury and even death. Developing a safety plan tailored to meet the needsof your family will enable you get out of a potentially dangerous situation. Ifyour children are old enough, mature enough, or even responsible enough toassist you during a violent or potentially violent episode of domestic abuse,you may consider including them in your plan to keep everyone safe. A goodsafety plan considers which steps to take if you choose to stay in therelationship or if you choose to leave.

Here are some tips during the explosive phase of domesticabuse:

◦Move to a room with easy access to an exit. Don't go to thekitchen, bathroom or near possible weapons.

◦Know the quickest route out of your home. Practice escapingthat way.

◦Know the quickest route out of your workplace. Practiceescaping that way. Domestic violence does not just occur in your home.

◦Pack a bag and have it ready. Keep it hidden but make iteasy to grab quickly.

◦Tell your neighbors about your abuse and ask them to callthe police when they hear a disturbance.

◦Have a code word to use with your kids, family and friends.They will know to call the police and get you help.

◦Know where you are going to go, if you ever have to leave.

◦Use your instincts.

◦You have the right to protect yourself and your children.

Protection Orders

Military Protection Orders (MPO)

Unit Commanders mayissue a Military Protective Order (MPO) to ensure the safety of servicemembers, family members, and other individuals from the threat of domesticviolence. An MPO is a written lawful order issued by a commander that orders aSoldier to avoid contact with his or her spouse or children. The commandershould provide a written copy of the order within 24 hours of its issuance tothe protected person, the Military Police and civilian law enforcement. Anindividual should report violations of the MPO to law enforcement.

Civilian Protection Orders (CPO)

A Civilian Order ofProtection is an order signed by a Judge that directs an individual to stopabusing, stalking, harassing and/or committing acts of sexual violence againstan individual. An individual may file a CPO against current or former spouse,someone that an individual shares a child in common, an individual with whomyou have shared a residence with, someone related to you by blood or marriageor someone with whom you have dated or had intimate relations.

National Resources

National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE NationalSexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE Military One Source CONUS: 1-800-342-9647

OCONUS: 00-800-3429-6477 Tocall collect (with operator assistance): OCONUS 484-530-5908 Army SexualAssault Prevention and Response Website www.sexualassault.army.mil

To report Domestic Violence contact 912-767-3032 (FS) or912-315-5343 (HAAF) a Domestic Abuse Victim Advocate is available 24/7 toprovide assistance. To report DomesticViolence and/or Child Abuse please, the Reporting Point of Contact number is912-767-0025.