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Legal Information: Federal

Domestic Violence in the Military

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Updated: 
October 9, 2019

What are some possible punishments that a commander can bring against a service member who commits abuse?

Some options that a commander can order against a service member who has abused his/her partner are:

  • a full investigation;
  • criminal charges;
  • imprisonment;
  • discharge from service;
  • demotion;
  • forfeiture of pay; or
  • a determination that no action is warranted.

Note: If you are a service member but the abuser is not, the commander has fewer options for holding the abuser accountable, since civilian abusers are not subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The commander could bar the abuser from the installation, however. The commander may also encourage you to seek community legal services and remedies, such as a civil protection order (CPO), and to work with the Family Advocacy Program to plan for your safety.