What to Look For |
What to Do |
What to Avoid
What to Expect |
A Marine might be at risk for either committing abuse or becoming a victim of abuse if any of the risk factors noted in the previous section become evident. Again, risk factors do not cause abuse but if risk factors are compounded with a belief that violence is a legitimate means to an end and acceptable in intimate relationships or the perception that someone else is to blame for one's actions or that one deserves abuse, then domestic abuse is much more likely.
Low Level/Low Risk counseling services are available for families involved in minor domestic disturbances that indicate risk for more serious domestic abuse. The goal is to reduce the number and severity of incidents by encouraging self-referral and participation in services as early as possible. To be eligible for low level/low risk services, the referral incident must be a first time report and result in no or very minor physical injury. Additionally, both parties involved in the incident must be interested in getting help. In addition the command, Family Advocacy Program Manager
(FAPM), and case manager must support the recommendation to classify the incident as low level/low risk.
On 22 Apr 2006 the Department of Defense released policy guidelines for Domestic Abuse Restricted Reporting. This policy affords victims a new option for confidential disclosure of abuse and to receive support services. Under this new policy, adult victims of domestic abuse may receive medical treatment and victim advocacy services without requiring notification to law enforcement or unit commanders.
To be eligible for restricted reporting, the victim must disclose to one of the following individuals: Victim Advocate, Victim Advocate Supervisor or Healthcare Provider (includes Marine and Family Services licensed counselors). Disclosure of abuse to anyone other than those listed above may result in command notification and law enforcement investigation.
In cases where a victim elects restricted reporting, the confidential communications will be suspended under certain circumstances, for example; when required by state law, when the victim in writing authorizes disclosure, when there is serious or imminent threat to health or safety, or when child abuse is suspected.
Licensed counselors at Marine and Family Services provide individual, marriage, and family counseling as needed. Services are intended to be solution-focused on well defined problem areas amenable to brief intervention and rehabilitation, such as adult adjustment issues, crisis intervention, academic and occupational problems, parent-child communication, grief and loss issues, and nonviolent marital problems. Licensed clinical providers assist clients to identify and clarify the nature and extent of their problems based on their initial assessment, and to develop a collaborative plan for solving problems.
Supervisors or peers may overhear, observe, or become aware of escalating arguments or other marital conflict.
Marine may not be performing up to standard, appear preoccupied with personal matters, or may come in late or ask for time off more frequently. When asked about problems, may give vague, defensive, or angry responses.
Marine may avoid going home, complain about spouse/partner, or refer to spouse/partner in excessively derogatory terms.
Marines who have been the target of abuse may try to cover or camouflage injuries.
- Marine may be having problems in a wide variety of areas; financially, job performance, peer relationships, anger control, general coping skills, substance use.
Talk to the Marine in private about observations. Inquire if problems at home are impacting performance. Convey support for getting help and inform the Marine of options.
Strongly encourage participation in prevention
programs and classes offered through MCCS that deal with the identified problem areas. Ensure the Marine is aware of the services Military OneSource provides. Convey expectation that issues will be dealt with appropriately.
Encourage Marine to talk to a chaplain or other trusted professional if appropriate.
- If abuse is identified, refer the Marine to the Family Advocacy Program (FAP). Ensure the victim, whether AD or civilian, is offered Victim Advocacy services through FAP. Follow guidelines in Report of Incident
- Ignoring observations, letting problems continue or to get worse.
- Not taking the problem seriously or minimizing concerns.
- Supporting perceptions that abusive behaviors are justified or appropriate.
- Joining in negative comments about Marine's spouse/partner.
- Forming conclusions about a particular situation before having enough information.
- Refusing to give the Marine time off to attend prevention programs when the need is clearly indicated.- Holding the belief that domestic abuse is a private affair and failing to ask if abuse is occurring.
Most Marines will follow though with recommendations to seek assistance, participate in prevention programs, or see a chaplain if supported to do so.
Most Marines want to get back to work and up to speed as quickly as possible and do not want to be identified as needing extra assistance. Handling issues discreetly and respectfully is important.
Leaders can offer support by promoting prevention as essential to maintain readiness.
Marine may experience embarrassment about asking for help and may need encouragement to follow-through with recommendations.
- If abuse has occurred and Family Advocacy
Program (FAP) is involved, leaders can expect frequent communication and involvement with that office.
Some Marines may deny there is a problem, minimize issues, or refuse to participate in recommended services. This may be an indication that more serious problems are occurring and may require more active involvement from leaders.
- Marine may not be showing any signs of improvement or problems may escalate after participation in a prevention program. Leaders may want to consult with FAP staff, chaplain, or clinical counseling staff to determine if another course of action might be appropriate.