FindLaw KnowledgeBasePublished: 2012-12-10
The presence of domestic violence in a home takes a tremendous toll on Virginia families, no matter their level of income or other circumstances. Allegations of domestic abuse involving terroristic threats or physical assault have implications for family law matters as well as the potential for a criminal investigation.
Recent efforts by the U.S. Department of Defense to draw awareness to national Domestic Violence Awareness Month brought welcome attention to an issue that affects military families like all others. Military installations around the country presented programs in October featuring domestic violence victims as well as explanations of the role of programs available in each of the armed services to make counseling services available.
The manager of the DoD’s Family Advocacy Program, Kathy Robertson, recently explained to the Armed Services Press Service that the Victims Advocacy Services Program is focused on helping spousal abuse victims as well as abusive spouses. Prevention is a key factor, and training of everyone from platoon sergeants to their site commanders about the signs of domestic abuse can help a family connect with counselors before a situation erupts into violence.
Military family members face a host of stressful circumstances, from deployment and family relocation to the same economic challenges threatening all American families. Military spouses who fear imminent violence or have experienced harm to themselves or their children can find answers through service-based victim advocates and other resources.
Over the last year, military social workers and victims advocates handled more than 30,000 cases of reported domestic violence, and Robertson explained that many more people receive help before a report needs to be filed. Half of all reported cases filed with the Family Advocacy Program involve female service members who seek help because of abuse by a civilian husband.
Military family advocates must understand how to work within the civilian court system because domestic violence that occurs off-base is subject to local law. For the same reason, a Virginia domestic abuse lawyer can help a military spouse understand his or her options for obtaining or defending against a domestic violence protective order.