Legal Information: Federal


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June 25, 2013

What will happen to the abuser if I make a non-confidential report of domestic abuse or violence?

If you make a non-confidential (unrestricted) report of domestic abuse/violence by a military service member who is/was your spouse or intimate partner, then the Family Advocacy Program ("FAP") will become involved.  The FAP may recommend treatment for the abuser or other services through the Case Review Committee (CRC).  To read more about the FAP and the CRC, go to What happens after the FAP receives a report of abuse?

The abuser's commander will have full authority to decide how to handle the report of abuse.  The punishment could range from documenting the behavior in the service member's record book to ordering clinical treatment to taking any disciplinary action or punishment s/he believes is appropriate.*

In most cases, if no prior domestic abuse or violence has been reported to FAP and the nature of the abuse/violence is not life-threatening, most commanders will order the abuser to comply with the treatment recommendations of the FAP.  If there have been several prior reports, if the abuser has previously been provided treatment, or if the nature of the violence is extreme, then the commander may decide to pursue a civilian criminal case, administratively separate your spouse from the military or begin court-martial proceedings.

* See "The Military Response to Victims of Domestic Violence, Tools for Civilian Advocates," published by the Battered Women's Justice Project