MCCS - News and Events

Corps Compliant with New DOD Policy on Reporting of Domestic Abuse


Release Date: 10/13/2006

MCB QUANTICO - Adult victims of domestic abuse now have a new option to make a confidential disclosure of abuse and will be able to receive medical treatment and victim advocacy services without requiring notification to law enforcement or unit commanders.

            The Marine Corps has a zero tolerance policy for domestic abuse.  Domestic violence detracts from military performance, negatively impacts unit readiness and morale, and diminishes the reputation and prestige of the Marine Corps.

            According to Mary Campise, Family Advocacy Program (FAP) manager at Headquarters Marine Corps, "this new policy allows victims of domestic abuse two options for seeking assistance. Victims can either make an official report that will trigger a formal investigation, or they can make a restricted report, and receive the same medical help and counseling, without law enforcement or military commander involvement.

            Campise added that Many victims may not seek assistance because they are concerned that making a report will have immediate repercussions on the Marine's career and subsequently impact the family"s financial welfare. This new option removes the immediate threat of further family disenfranchisement and increases the rate of services and support available to the family unit.

            To be eligible for the restricted reporting option, the victim must disclose the abuse to a victim advocate, victim advocate supervisor, and/or a healthcare provider.  Healthcare providers include counselors in the Marine Corps Community Services Family Advocacy and General Counseling Program as well as military medical providers.  If the victim requests restricted reporting, a victim advocate will explain the process and ensure the victim elects her/his preference in writing.  Victim advocates are available 24/7 on all Marine Corps installations and can be accessed through the local installation Family Advocacy Program.  After hours, victim advocates can be accessed by calling Military OneSource at 800-342-9647.  Disclosure of abuse to anyone else could subsequently result in command notification and the initiation of an investigation by law enforcement personnel. This policy does not apply if the report of domestic abuse has already been received by law enforcement or command officials, or if state law mandates reporting to law enforcement.  Of the states with Marine Corps installations, only California requires mandatory reporting of all suspected cases of domestic violence. Other state reporting laws vary by the severity and means of the injuries.  If a victim chooses the option of making a restricted report, this reporting option can be preempted if certain circumstances exist. These circumstances include but are not limited to the following: a written authorization from the victim exercising their preference to disclose the incident to law enforcement or command, an identified threat of imminent risk or serious harm to a victims or other persons health or safety, or when child abuse is suspected.

             Domestic abuse in the Marine Corps has steadily declined since FY01.   The Marine Corps attributes this 27 percent decline to strong command support and outreach services and programs such as seminars addressing marriage skills, Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP), New Parent Support Program (NPSP), Baby Boot Camp, parenting classes, Stress Management, Anger Management, Financial Management, Womens Support Groups,  Spouses Leadership Seminar, Key Volunteers Network (KVN), Lifestyles, Insights, Networking, Knowledge, and Skills (LINKS), and Chaplains Religious Enrichment Development Operation (CREDO). The Marine Corps leadership utilizes a Coordinated Community Response for domestic abuse as a way of bringing together all of the critical responders to domestic abuse incidents and enforcing a unified network of people and programs available to provide services to combat these problems.  The fewer Marines involved in domestic and child abuse, the less time all levels of command have to spend on investigations, measures to protect victims, and rehabilitation programs for offenders that result in time away from work, and other subsequent actions.

            For questions about the new reporting option or to request help, contact your installation Family Advocacy Program or check out the MCCS FAP website at: http://www.usmc-mccs.org/famadv/index.cfm.  The National Domestic Violence Hotline is also staffed 24 hours a day and can provide crisis intervention, information, and referrals in 140 languages. Call 800-799-SAFE (7233), 800-787-3224 (TTY), or go to www.ndvh.org.

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