Any military chaplain knows that a duty call to a military residential neighbourhood after hours may well involve some sort of domestic violence. While domestic violence also happens in the civilian world, for soldiers, stress and past incidents involving exposure to violence and trauma can trigger angry moments that can impact family members. The US military has had several high-profile cases where murder of a spouse by a member back from a deployment happened even though warning signs were there. Today the US military announced a Domestic Violence Awareness Month, something other militaries including my own should take note of. MP+
Defense Department Works to End Domestic Violence
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 7, 2009 – The Defense Department is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for military families, the director of the department’s Family Advocacy Program said in observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
When domestic violence does occur within the military community, however, there are places to turn, David Lloyd said.
“Domestic violence is always an issue in the military because military people come into the service with all the issues that are present in the civilian sector,” he said. “We don’t want victims to suffer in silence.”
In 2006, the department passed the Restricted Reporting Policy, Lloyd said. Restricted reporting allows victims who are unaware of the support and resources available for them to get that information, get an assessment of their safety and receive help with safety planning.
All of this is done without notifying military law enforcement or the military commander, which means that if the alleged abuser is a servicemember, the incident won’t end up on a permanent record.
The other option is unrestricted reporting, which is the option used when a victim wants to get law enforcement or the command involved, Lloyd said.
“In that situation, the law enforcement … personnel would investigate the allegations of what had happened and of course would present it to the commander,” he said. “The commander would be able to take steps, including issuing a military protective order.”
Read the whole piece here.
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