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Legal Information: Federal

Domestic Violence in the Military

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Updated: 
October 9, 2019

If I report domestic abuse, could my report affect the abuser’s job?

If you make a restricted (confidential) report to the Family Advocacy Program (FAP), this generally will not negatively impact a service member’s career because the report stays within the FAP; however, the report may go beyond the FAP if there is a severe risk of immediate harm to the victim or another person.

Even if an unrestricted (non-confidential) report is made and the abuser’s command is notified, command will typically support service members who stop abusive behavior, follow treatment recommendations, and work to achieve more positive relationships. With FAP assistance and treatment, many service members can make the long-term changes necessary to avoid future abusive behavior and continue a successful military service.

However, service members who fail to stop abusive behavior, refuse to comply with treatment plans, or cause serious injury to a spouse, partner, or family member may face administrative discharge or court martial. These decisions are determined by the service member’s chain of command and the military justice system.