FAP gets a report of domestic abuse. FAP works to be sure that all the people who have the ability to help the family, such as the active duty member’s commander, law enforcement, the medical treatment facility, or a victim advocate, are aware of the abusive situation in that family’s home. All these people are then able to step in and do what they must and can do to help that couple move towards a more healthy relationship.
The active duty member’s commander will focus right away on what he or she can do to help keep the victim safe. That may mean issuing a military protection order if the suspected abuser is the active duty member. The commander might also order the active duty member abuser into quarters on the installation to keep the couple separated until FAP can assess them and provide treatment. If the suspected abuser is a civilian, the commander may also choose to bar him or her from the installation.
If military law enforcement was the first agency to be contacted about the abuse, or if there is reason to believe a crime has been committed, military law enforcement will investigate the report. If the couple lives on the installation, military law enforcement will probably go to the couple’s home to talk to them about the allegation of abuse.They would interview the victim and the alleged abuser separately. They might also talk to children in the home to be sure they are safe as well. If the couple lives outside of the installation, military law enforcement will notify civilian law enforcement to conduct the investigation.
FAP will follow up by asking both the victim and the alleged abuser to come in separately for an assessment to learn more about what has been happening in their relationship.
Once law enforcement has finished its investigation and FAP has completed its assessments of the family, a meeting will be held about the family. This meeting, or Case Review Committee, will involve a commander or command representative, FAP, law enforcement, and other people who might have information about the family situation. This might sound intimidating, but it is really all about gathering people together to get a clear picture of what happened and to make a plan for treatment and other services that can help the couple to have a healthier relationship in the future. This meeting is not about deciding whether or how to discipline the active duty member abuser. The active duty member’s commander will make those kinds of decisions separately from the Case Review Committee meeting.
Once a treatment plan has been approved by the commander, FAP will provide treatment and support services to the family. Those services might include individual or group treatment for the abuser, counseling for the victim at his or her request, or stress management classes. Couples will never be ordered into or required to participate in couples counseling, although that option may be available upon the victim’s request made independently from the abuser.
FAP will update the active duty member’s commander about the abuser’s progress in treatment and any changes in the family’s circumstances until treatment has been completed.
If you are in an abusive relationship or if something about your relationship with your partner scares you and you need someone to talk to, if you are in the U.S. you can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or visit their website at www.ndvh.org. If you are outside the U.S. you can contact the American Domestic Violence Crisis Line by calling the local AT&T operator in that country and asking to be connected to 866-USWOMEN.