The Army continues its quest to inform Soldiers of the seriousness and ramifications of domestic violence. One of the major touchstones of that quest is the Ready, Resilient and Army Strong campaign, launched with a focus on behavioral health to assist Soldiers and their Family members as they tackle challenges and stressors both at work and at home.
Domestic violence, defined as a pattern of behavior resulting in emotional or psychological abuse, economic control, and/or interference with personal liberty that is directed toward a person, is an offense under the United States Code, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or under state law and involves the use, attempted use, or threatened use of force or violence against a person, said Thomas Hill, Family Advocacy Program manager, Army Community Service.
Domestic violence applies when a person is either a current or former spouse; a person with whom the abuser shares a child in common; or a current or former intimate partner with whom the abuser shares or has shared a common domicile, Hill said.
Domestic violence could, according to a survivor agency website, include the following articles under UCMJ:
• Article 92 — Failure to obey order or regulation
• Article 108 — Damaging military property
• Article 109 — Damaging non-military property
• Article 117 — Provoking speeches or gestures (if the incident involves two servicemembers)
• Article 120 — rape
• Article 124 — maiming
• Article 128 — assault
• Article 134 — General article (may be used for communicating a threat, kidnapping, assault with intent to commit rape, stalking and other abusive offenses)
But, Fort Bragg has measures in place to address domestic violence issues and to stop it in its tracks.
One such measure is FAP, a program that requires the assessment of domestic violence or child abuse so that services can be provided. Typically, there are more than 100 referrals for domestic violence each month on Fort Bragg.
Once an offender has been identified, military leaders should follow Master Policy 80, which requires commanders to separate the offender and the victim for a minimum of 72 hours until a military protective order can be executed.
Victims can get help by calling the Victim Advocate Hotline at 322-3418. Operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the hotline has victim advocates who give guidance about getting help. If privacy is a concern, any person who has privacy issues may call the hotline and refrain from giving his or her name.
In reality, domestic violence is a crime that affects both men and women and crosses all socioeconomic boundaries, having no respect of race, gender, income and/or education.
But, the effects of domestic violence are real.
Youth who have been exposed to domestic abuse in the home tend to be more likely to use drugs, attempt suicide or become abusers in later relationships or more likely to use violence in schools.
In adults, domestic violence may manifest itself as aggressive behavior, low self-esteem and in poor relationships with children and other loved ones.
From 2006 to 2011, domestic violence rose 33 percent; violent crime rose 64 percent and child abuse rose 43 percent.
But, there are indicators to domestic abuse, including strained relationships, financial turmoil, child custody battles, substance abuse and the threat of job loss or access to weapons.
Yet those indicators do not have to be triggers as Fort Bragg’s ACS offers a variety of ways to help servicemembers and their Families maintain healthy relationships, including classes in parenting, anger management, couples communications, stress management and the New Parent Support Program. Licensed, trained professionals in social work and other disciplines staff the classes.
Registration is required for all workshops and may be done at 396-1425/2390. Childcare is provided.
Another stopgap for domestic abuse is the Department of Social Work at Womack Army Medical Center, which provides individual, child and couples therapy. One spokesperson has said that the goal of DSW programs is to provide tools to help servicemembers adapt to the stressors of the military lifestyle. Contact DSW by calling 907-7869.
In addition, other Family service options are available through Military One Source (800-464-8107); military Family life consultants who provide short-term counseling services (396-9171); military police who will respond to the scene of a reported domestic abuse incident (396-0391); Watters Center, staffed by chaplains and civilian providers who offer a variety of counseling (396-6564); and the National Domestic Violence Hotline (800-799-7233).
The key is to stop domestic abuse before it happens and before it affects the availability of Soldier readiness. According to the Lautenberg Amendment of 1996, it is felony for anyone convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence to ship, transport, possess or receive firearms or ammunitions — effectively ending a servicemember’s career.
Fort Bragg will continue its mission to uphold the core premise of the Army Family Covenant — to provide Soldiers and their Families a quality of life commensurate with their service and to improving Family readiness.
Please continue to read the Paraglide for information about other Ready, Resilient and Army Strong Campaign areas, including comprehensive Soldier and Family fitness, risk reduction, equal opportunity, strategic communications and suicide prevention.
(Editor’s note: Information for this article was taken from the Center for Survivor Agency and Justice website at www.csaj.org/documents/128.)pdf).