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December 03, 2020

Impact of Military Service

The questions below should provide you some guidance when determining how domestic violence may impact military service.

Does the military play a role in domestic violence cases involving military families?

Yes, the military takes domestic violence incidents very seriously and is very involved with addressing reports of violence. Often times, both civilian and military authorities are involved in addressing domestic violence cases. The military may be more or less involved in domestic violence incidents depending on whether the offender is a servicemember and whether the incident occurred on a military installation. Military members have been court-martialed for domestic violence incidents and regularly face military initiated punitive and administrative actions. The military can also bar non-servicemember offenders from base thereby helping to protect victims. Additionally, a conviction for domestic violence can have serious consequences on a servicemember’s military career possibly leading to being kicked out of the military.

The military, through its Family Advocacy Program (FAP) looks into all reported domestic violence cases and provides domestic violence assistance. In some cases, military members who have been involved in domestic violence will be ordered into counseling and/or other assistance programs. You may also want to consider seeking off-base counseling. Although the military provides a wide variety of counseling and family services, it is not confidential and any admission of domestic violence or perceived threat of domestic violence must be reported to command.

My husband, a servicemember, was physically abusing me and emotionally abusing our children. I have an order of protection against him and have moved out of our house and am starting divorce proceedings. But I have no money to pay daily expenses and I can’t imagine asking my husband to help. What can I do?

Emergency relocation assistance may be available to you and your children, including help with purchasing airplane tickets and other modes of transportation away from your husband. The military may also pay to have your household goods moved. You should see your FAP representative and a legal assistance attorney for more information.

Note that this assistance is only available to married victims and their children.

My spouse is facing an administrative separation action and/or is being court-martialed for abusing me (or our children). I am concerned that if he is kicked out of the military, he will not be able to provide support to me and our children. What is going to happen?

The military recognizes that domestic violence is a serious problem and works with abused spouses and other dependents to ensure they seek needed help and to ensure justice is done. This may mean that the military spouse is kicked out of the military and loses the ability to support his or her spouse and children. To address this problem, the “Transitional Compensation” program exists to provide temporary financial support and healthcare benefits to spouses and children when a servicemember is kicked out of the military because of domestic violence. You should see your FAP representative and a legal assistance attorney for more information.