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November 05, 2020

A Look at Special Victims’ Counsel in Military Rape Cases

A Special Victims’ Counsel (SVC) is a military attorney who specializes in representing sexual assault and rape victims. Instead of representing the government in the prosecution, the SVC works solely for victims. The SVC program began in 2013 as a test program in the Air Force., but now each military branch has its own SVC program. The SVC has 3 main roles: advocate, advise, and support victims of sexual assault throughout the prosecution process. However, because the SVC is a relatively new position, its role in the prosecution remains ambiguous. In fact, some judges have expanded the SVC’s role by allowing them to participate in trial, permitting the SVC to file and argue motions, as well as object to evidence. This presents a constitutional rights issue as the SVC isn’t bound to the same constitutional requirements as the prosecutor.