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Victim Advocacy Program

The Victim Advocacy Program (VAP) provides emergency and follow-up support services to adult victims of domestic abuse. Advocacy services are available to Service members, their current or former spouses, an individual with whom the Service member shares a child, and significant others of Service members who live together. Our services are available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

Our trained professionals are here for crisis response, information on reporting options, medical treatment options, law enforcement’s response, emergency services, safety planning, obtaining military and civilian protective orders, and accompaniment to medical forensic exams and medical appointments, as well as accompaniment to court for orders of protection hearings and trials. Advocates work closely with their civilian counterparts and ensure a personal and smooth transition for victims who do not qualify for ongoing advocacy services within the military community.

If you need help or want more information, contact the Victim Advocacy Program Manager at your local Army Community Service Center.

Reporting Options

The Army is fully committed to ensuring victims of domestic abuse are protected; treated with dignity and respect; and provided support, advocacy and care. The Army strongly supports effective command awareness and prevention programs, and holding offenders accountable.

There are two types of reporting options: Restricted Reporting and Unrestricted Reporting. Personnel should report all suspected cases of domestic abuse promptly, which quickly activates victim services and accountability actions. However, we understand things might not always work that way. Victims might need medical attention or victim services without command or a law enforcement response. Therefore, the Army has implemented a Restricted Reporting Option for victims to confidentially disclose allegations of abuse and receive needed medical treatment and services.

Restricted Reporting

Allows someone who meets VAP criteria and who is experiencing violence in his/her relationship to confidentially disclose the abuse to a Victim Advocate, a Victim Advocate Supervisor, or a Healthcare Provider. When an individual chooses a restricted report, law enforcement is not involved and there is no investigation of the abuse. In addition, the Soldier’s Command is not notified of the abuse and is unable to offer assistance and protection.

The restricted reporting option allows an individual to receive medical treatment, advocacy services and clinical and pastoral counseling. This option allows one to receive needed services, control the release of his/her personal information, and time to consider his/her options.

Under this reporting option, the offender is not held accountable and the abuse may continue. If an assessment reveals a high risk for future injury, a restricted report may not be granted.

Unrestricted Reporting

Victims of domestic abuse who want to pursue an official investigation of an incident should report the abuse to law enforcement, or the alleged offender’s Commander. The unrestricted reporting option provides a victim with the widest array of services available including but not limited to command involvement, law enforcement involvement, medical treatment, advocacy services, and counseling services.

Not all incidents of domestic abuse are the same, and each person who experiences domestic abuse handles the situation differently.

Command Response

Commanders play an integral part in ensuring the safety, health, and well being of our Army Families. Commanders who learn of an incident of domestic abuse are required to notify law enforcement.

Victim’s Rights

  • The right to be treated with fairness and with respect for your dignity and privacy.
  • The right to be reasonably protected from the accused offender.
  • The right to be notified of court proceedings.
  • The right to be present at all public court proceedings related to the offense, unless the court determines that your testimony would be materially affected if you, as the victim, heard other testimony at trial.
  • The right to confer with the attorney for the government in the case; the right to available restitution; the right to information about the conviction, sentencing, imprisonment, and release of the offender.

Safety Planning

A violent relationship puts you and your children at risk for injury and even death. Developing a safety plan tailored to meet the needs of your family will enable you get out of a potentially dangerous situation. If your children are old enough, mature enough, or even responsible enough to assist you during a violent or potentially violent episode of domestic abuse, you may consider including them in your plan to keep everyone safe. A good safety plan considers which steps to take if you choose to stay in the relationship or if you choose to leave.

Here are some tips during the explosive phase of domestic abuse:

  • Move to a room with easy access to an exit. Don't go to the kitchen, bathroom or near possible weapons.
  • Know the quickest route out of your home. Practice escaping that way.
  • Know the quickest route out of your workplace. Practice escaping that way. Domestic violence does not just occur in your home.
  • Pack a bag and have it ready. Keep it hidden but make it easy to grab quickly.
  • Tell your neighbors about your abuse and ask them to call the police when they hear a disturbance.
  • Have a code word to use with your kids, family and friends. They will know to call the police and get you help.
  • Know where you are going to go, if you ever have to leave.
  • Use your instincts.
  • You have the right to protect yourself and your children.

Develop a Safety Plan

Protection Orders

Military Protection Orders (MPO)
Unit Commanders may issue a Military Protective Order (MPO) to ensure the safety of service members, family members, and other individuals from the threat of domestic violence. An MPO is a written lawful order issued by a commander that orders a Soldier to avoid contact with his or her spouse or children. The commander should provide a written copy of the order within 24 hours of its issuance to the protected person, the Military Police and civilian law enforcement. An individual should report violations of the MPO to law enforcement.

Civilian Protection Orders (CPO)
A Civilian Order of Protection is an order signed by a Judge that directs an individual to stop abusing, stalking, harassing and/or committing acts of sexual violence against an individual. An individual may file a CPO against current or former spouse, someone that an individual shares a child in common, an individual with whom you have shared a residence with, someone related to you by blood or marriage or someone with whom you have dated or had intimate relations.

National Resources

  • United States Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women
  • National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence
  • Stalking Resource Center
  • Statewide directory for laws, courts, emergency shelters, orders of protection
  • Battered Women's Justice Project
  • The Family Violence Prevention Fund
  • Women's Justice Center– Also is Spanish
  • Mind, Body, Spirit Empowered - Materials translated into many languages
  • Marriage and Equality – Materials translated into many languages

Victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse have round-the-clock access to services, including emergency assistance, information, referrals, and ongoing support in accessing medical, behavioral health, legal, and law enforcement services on and off garrisons. Victim Advocates will discuss the option of restricted and unrestricted reports.

 

Domestic Violence Hotlines

 

All Army installations have a 24/7 Family Advocacy Program (FAP) Domestic Abuse Victim Advocacy Hotline. 

 

 

Domestic Abuse Victim Advocacy Program

Standing Against Abuse Together

 

The Army’s Domestic Abuse Victim Advocacy Program provides comprehensive assistance and support to victims of domestic abuse, including crisis intervention, risk assessment, safety planning, assistance securing medical treatment, information on legal rights and proceedings, and referrals to military and civilian shelters and other resources available to victims. Child advocacy services are provided to non-offending parent/guardians of children when directed by the FAP or by a judge.

 

What is a Domestic Abuse Victim Advocate (DAVA)?

Domestic Abuse Victim Advocates (DAVAs) are trained professionals who provide non-clinical advocacy services and support to Soldiers and Family members experiencing domestic abuse. DAVAs are on call 24/7 to provide immediate assistance, safety planning, non-judgmental support, and information on available resources.

 

What is Domestic Abuse?

Domestic abuse is a pattern of behavior resulting in emotional/psychological harm, economic control, and/or interference with personal liberty. The abuser could be a current or former spouse, someone you share a child with, or a current or former intimate partner you’ve shared a home with. Domestic abuse is a crime. So is violating a protective order. 

 

 

Domestic Abuse Victim Advocates can

  • Provide crisis intervention and support 24/7/365
  • Help file restricted and unrestricted reports
  • Talk with you about how safe you are and plan for emergencies
  • Give information on temporary financial support and other benefits to victims when the offender is separated from the military
  • Coordinate emergency services, including transportation, housing, and food
  • Assist in obtaining protective orders
  • Accompany you throughout the medical, investigative, and legal processes
  • Represent your interests through on-post processes
  • Offer information and referral to medical, legal, counseling, and other resources

 

How to Keep Yourself Safe

 

You can take steps to keep yourself and your children safe, and you can prepare to leave an abusive partner. Here are things to consider.

 

What Should I Do If I Am Thinking About Leaving My Abusive Partner?

 

Think about the following:

  • Several places you could go if you leave your home
  • People who might help you if possible, leave a bag of necessities at their house
  • Getting a cell phone
  • Opening a bank account/credit card in your name
  • How you might leave
  • How to take your children with you safely

 

Take the following items with you, if possible:

  • Children
  • Money
  • Keys to car, house, work
  • Extra clothes
  • Medicine
  • Important papers for you and your children
  • Birth Certificates
  • Social security cards
  • School and medical records
  • Checkbooks, credit cards
  • Driver’s license
  • Car registration
  • Welfare identification
  • Passports, green cards, work permits
  • Lease/rental agreement
  • Mortgage payment book, unpaid bills
  • Insurance papers
  • Military Protective Order (MPO)/Civilian Protective Order (CPO), divorce papers, custody papers
  • Address book
  • Pictures, jewelry, sentimental items
  • Items for your children (toys, blankets, etc.)

 

How Can I Keep Myself Safe At Work?

  • Keep a copy of your MPO/CPO at work
  • Give a picture of the abuser to security and friends at work
  • Tell your supervisors – see if they can make it harder for the abuser to find you
  • Don’t go to lunch alone
  • Ask a security guard to walk you to your car or to the bus
  • If the abuser contacts you at work, save voicemails and e-mails

 

What Can I Do to Keep Myself Safe If I Have Left My Abuser?

  • Get a cell phone.
  • Get a MPO/CPO.  Keep a copy with you at all times.  Give a copy to the police, your children’s caregivers, schools, and your boss.
  • Change the locks.
  • Install a security system and outside lights.
  • Change your number to be unlisted.
  • Use an answering machine/voicemail to screen calls.
  • Tell friends and neighbors your abuser no longer lives with you.  Ask them to call the police if they see your abuser outside or near your home.
  • Tell someone at work what has happened.
  • Try not to use the same stores, banks, or businesses that you did when you were with your abuser.
  • Find a safe way to speak with your abuser, if necessary.
  • Take a self-defense course.
  • Go over your safety plan.
Reporting Options & Response

The Army is fully committed to ensuring victims of domestic abuse are protected; treated with dignity and respect; and provided support, advocacy and care. The Army strongly supports effective command awareness and prevention programs, and holding offenders accountable.

There are two types of reporting options: Restricted Reporting and Unrestricted Reporting. Personnel should report all suspected cases of domestic abuse promptly, which quickly activates victim services and accountability actions. However, we understand things might not always work that way. Victims might need medical attention or victim services without command or a law enforcement response. Therefore, the Army has implemented a Restricted Reporting Option for victims to confidentially disclose allegations of abuse and receive needed medical treatment and services.

Restricted Reporting

Allows someone who meets VAP criteria and who is experiencing violence in his/her relationship to confidentially disclose the abuse to a Victim Advocate, a Victim Advocate Supervisor, or a Healthcare Provider. When an individual chooses a restricted report, law enforcement is not involved and there is no investigation of the abuse. In addition, the Soldier’s Command is not notified of the abuse and is unable to offer assistance and protection.

The restricted reporting option allows an individual to receive medical treatment, advocacy services and clinical and pastoral counseling. This option allows one to receive needed services, control the release of his/her personal information, and time to consider his/her options.

Under this reporting option, the offender is not held accountable and the abuse may continue. If an assessment reveals a high risk for future injury, a restricted report may not be granted.

Unrestricted Reporting

Victims of domestic abuse who want to pursue an official investigation of an incident should report the abuse to law enforcement, or the alleged offender’s Commander. The unrestricted reporting option provides a victim with the widest array of services available including but not limited to command involvement, law enforcement involvement, medical treatment, advocacy services, and counseling services.

Not all incidents of domestic abuse are the same, and each person who experiences domestic abuse handles the situation differently.

Command Response

Commanders play an integral part in ensuring the safety, health, and well being of our Army Families. Commanders who learn of an incident of domestic abuse are required to notify law enforcement.

Victim’s Rights

  • The right to be treated with fairness and with respect for your dignity and privacy.
  • The right to be reasonably protected from the accused offender.
  • The right to be notified of court proceedings.
  • The right to present at all public court proceedings related to the offense, unless the court determines that your testimony would be materially affected if you as the victim heard other testimony at trial.
  • The right to confer with the attorney for the government in the case; the right to available restitution; the right to information about the conviction, sentencing, imprisonment, and release of the offender.
Safety Planning

A violent relationship puts you and your children at risk for injury and even death. Developing a safety plan tailored to meet the needs of your family will enable you get out of a potentially dangerous situation. If your children are old enough, mature enough, or even responsible enough to assist you during a violent or potentially violent episode of domestic abuse, you may consider including them in your plan to keep everyone safe. A good safety plan considers which steps to take if you choose to stay in the relationship or if you choose to leave.

Here are some tips during the explosive phase of domestic abuse:

  • Move to a room with easy access to an exit. Don't go to the kitchen, bathroom or near possible weapons.
  • Know the quickest route out of your home. Practice escaping that way.
  • Know the quickest route out of your workplace. Practice escaping that way. Domestic violence does not just occur in your home.
  • Pack a bag and have it ready. Keep it hidden but make it easy to grab quickly.
  • Tell your neighbors about your abuse and ask them to call the police when they hear a disturbance.
  • Have a code word to use with your kids, family and friends. They will know to call the police and get you help.
  • Know where you are going to go, if you ever have to leave.
  • Use your instincts.
  • You have the right to protect yourself and your children.

Develop a Safety Plan
Safety Plan (English)
Safety Plan (Spanish)- Plan de seguridad (español)

Protection Orders

Military Protection Orders (MPO)
Unit Commanders may issue a Military Protective Order (MPO) to ensure the safety of service members, family members, and other individuals from the threat of domestic violence. An MPO is a written lawful order issued by a commander that orders a Soldier to avoid contact with his or her spouse or children. The commander should provide a written copy of the order within 24 hours of its issuance to the protected person, the Military Police and civilian law enforcement. An individual should report violations of the MPO to law enforcement.

Civilian Protection Orders (CPO)
A Civilian Order of Protection is an order signed by a Judge that directs an individual to stop abusing, stalking, harassing and/or committing acts of sexual violence against an individual. An individual may file a CPO against current or former spouse, someone that an individual shares a child in common, an individual with whom you have shared a residence with, someone related to you by blood or marriage or someone with whom you have dated or had intimate relations.

National Resources

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