- Victim Advocacy Program
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.
If you need help or want more information, contact the Victim Advocacy Program Manager at your local Army Community Service Center.
The Army is fully committed to ensuring victims of domestic abuse are protected; treated with dignity and respect; and provided support, advocacy and care. The Army strongly supports effective command awareness and prevention programs, and holding offenders accountable.
There are two types of reporting options: Restricted Reporting and Unrestricted Reporting. Personnel should report all suspected cases of domestic abuse promptly, which quickly activates victim services and accountability actions. However, we understand things might not always work that way. Victims might need medical attention or victim services without command or a law enforcement response. Therefore, the Army has implemented a Restricted Reporting Option for victims to confidentially disclose allegations of abuse and receive needed medical treatment and services.
Allows someone who meets VAP criteria and who is experiencing violence in his/her relationship to confidentially disclose the abuse to a Victim Advocate, a Victim Advocate Supervisor, or a Healthcare Provider. When an individual chooses a restricted report, law enforcement is not involved and there is no investigation of the abuse. In addition, the Soldier’s Command is not notified of the abuse and is unable to offer assistance and protection.
The restricted reporting option allows an individual to receive medical treatment, advocacy services and clinical and pastoral counseling. This option allows one to receive needed services, control the release of his/her personal information, and time to consider his/her options.
Under this reporting option, the offender is not held accountable and the abuse may continue. If an assessment reveals a high risk for future injury, a restricted report may not be granted.
Victims of domestic abuse who want to pursue an official investigation of an incident should report the abuse to law enforcement, or the alleged offender’s Commander. The unrestricted reporting option provides a victim with the widest array of services available including but not limited to command involvement, law enforcement involvement, medical treatment, advocacy services, and counseling services.
Not all incidents of domestic abuse are the same, and each person who experiences domestic abuse handles the situation differently.
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 law enforcement.
- The right to be treated with fairness and with respect for your dignity and privacy.
- The right to be reasonably protected from the accused offender.
- The right to be notified of court proceedings.
- The right to be present at all public court proceedings related to the offense, unless the court determines that your testimony would be materially affected if you, as the victim, heard other testimony at trial.
- The right to confer with the attorney for the government in the case; the right to available restitution; the right to information about the conviction, sentencing, imprisonment, and release of the offender.
A violent relationship puts you and your children at risk for injury and even death. Developing a safety plan tailored to meet the needs of your family will enable you get out of a potentially dangerous situation. If your children are old enough, mature enough, or even responsible enough to assist you during a violent or potentially violent episode of domestic abuse, you may consider including them in your plan to keep everyone safe. A good safety plan considers which steps to take if you choose to stay in the relationship or if you choose to leave.
Here are some tips during the explosive phase of domestic abuse:
- Move to a room with easy access to an exit. Don't go to the kitchen, bathroom or near possible weapons.
- Know the quickest route out of your home. Practice escaping that way.
- Know the quickest route out of your workplace. Practice escaping that way. Domestic violence does not just occur in your home.
- Pack a bag and have it ready. Keep it hidden but make it easy to grab quickly.
- Tell your neighbors about your abuse and ask them to call the 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.
Develop a Safety Plan
Military Protection Orders (MPO)
Unit Commanders may issue a Military Protective Order (MPO) to ensure the safety of service members, family members, and other individuals from the threat of domestic violence. An MPO is a written lawful order issued by a commander that orders a Soldier to avoid contact with his or her spouse or children. The commander should provide a written copy of the order within 24 hours of its issuance to the protected person, the Military Police and civilian law enforcement. An individual should report violations of the MPO to law enforcement.
Civilian Protection Orders (CPO)
A Civilian Order of Protection is an order signed by a Judge that directs an individual to stop abusing, stalking, harassing and/or committing acts of sexual violence against an individual. An individual may file a CPO against current or former spouse, someone that an individual shares a child in common, an individual with whom you have shared a residence with, someone related to you by blood or marriage or someone with whom you have dated or had intimate relations.
- United States Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women
- National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence
- Stalking Resource Center
- Statewide directory for laws, courts, emergency shelters, orders of protection
- Battered Women's Justice Project
- The Family Violence Prevention Fund
- Women's Justice Center– Also is Spanish
- Mind, Body, Spirit Empowered - Materials translated into many languages
- Marriage and Equality – Materials translated into many languages