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Reporting domestic abuse in a military family

Domestic abuse has no place in a healthy home environment. Even in military families, domestic abuse can become a concern. Fortunately, there are ways to address abuse without turning to the police.

The Department of Defense wants to address and end domestic violence, and there are typically two ways to report abuse in the home. You can make a restricted or unrestricted report of domestic abuse. Both options give you the chance to obtain access to support and aid through victim advocacy services.

Restricted reporting

The difference with restricted reporting is that law enforcement is not notified. Instead, you retain control over how much people find out about your case. No command is notified, either, so it should not affect your spouse's military career if you choose to seek out help through the advocacy program.

With restricted reports, you still obtain a right to medical care, support and counseling. You also retain access to victim advocacy services.

Unrestricted reporting

Unrestricted reporting does allow for law enforcement to get involved in your case. To make an unrestricted report, you can contact the military police, chain of command or Family Advocacy Program. You must use this type of reporting if you are in immediate danger or at risk of harm.

When you make an unrestricted report, you'll be able to have law enforcement investigate the allegations of abuse. You can notify your spouse's command, and administrative actions may be taken against him or her.

Additionally, you'll learn more about your legal rights and receive victim advocacy services.

No one should have to go through abuse. These two options give you the chance to decide on how you want to report domestic violence in your home. If you want to file for divorce, you can speak to your attorney about the next steps you should take. With the right help now, you can make the correct report and protect yourself and your children.

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