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Legal Information: Federal

Domestic Violence in the Military

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Laws current as of October 9, 2019

What happens after the FAP receives a report of abuse?

If you are an adult victim who reports abuse to the Family Advocacy Program (FAP) and you want the report to be restricted, FAP will not notify law enforcement and command and there will not usually be an official investigation of the allegation. There are, however, exceptions in cases of severe risk of immediate harm to you or another person.

If someone other than the victim, or their medical provider, reports abuse to the FAP, it is considered an unrestricted, non-confidential report. In this case, FAP clinical providers will talk to the victim and the abuser separately about the incident to determine the risk for further abuse, develop a safety plan, and recommend counseling or treatment options, if appropriate. An FAP counselor will also inform the victim’s command or the abuser’s command, and military law enforcement.

Next, information about the report will be presented by the FAP to an Incident Determination Committee (IDC). The IDC is made up of a senior command representative in charge of the installation or garrison, the victim’s command and the abuser’s command, representatives from military law enforcement personnel, representatives of the Staff Judge Advocate, and the FAP. Following the presentation of the domestic abuse incident(s), the IDC will vote to determine whether the incident(s) meet the DoD definition of abuse. Additionally, and during a separate process independent of the IDC or its outcome, a team of FAP clinicians and other stakeholders will make recommendations for treatment.

Note: The IDC is an administrative process and not a forum to determine or recommend any disciplinary action or treatment, or to determine guilt. It is not a criminal proceeding. It is a process to determine whether an incident of abuse meets the DoD definition of abuse so that the DoD can understand the rate of abuse.A separate but parallel process may also take place involving military law enforcement, the Staff Judge Advocate, and the Office of Special Trial Counsel to investigate and prosecute cases of domestic abuse that involve acts of violence, a threat of violence, or the violation of a protective order.

To see what other services the FAP will offer, go to I am experiencing abuse in my relationship. How do I go get help in the military system?

1 See Department of Defense Manual 6400.01, Volume 3 (FAP: Clinical Case Staff Meeting and Incident Determination Committee), incorporating change 1, July 16, 2021.