If you or your spouse are in the military and are having issues with domestic violence, there are a variety of steps that can be taken. An attorney knowledgeable about domestic violence can discuss what you can expect if you wish to file charges.
When Domestic Violence Occurs in a Military Family
Incidents of domestic violence have become more prevalent in military families. If it happens to you, you're not alone, and the military offers a few options to help you attempt to deal with it. Most bases have a Family Advocacy Program, or FAP, that offers counseling and mediation for families of service members where domestic violence is an issue. However, sometimes counseling either doesn't work or one member of the family refuses to participate. If you're the victim of domestic violence, you also have the option of filing charges. Your safety and the safety of your children should be of paramount concern.
Filing Charges Against a Service Member
If your spouse or partner commits domestic violence or threatens it, you may be able to address the issue with the base commander. If the incident happened on base, the judicial arm of the military may become involved. If the incident happened off base, you may file charges in civilian criminal court. The alleged perpetrator will have the opportunity to respond to the charges. He/she may face court martial and other disciplinary actions from the military. He/she may also face criminal penalties in a civilian court.
Keeping Your Family Safe
Naturally, your safety and the safety of your children will be your number one concern. You can speak to the military legal department about finding somewhere safe to stay. There also a variety of civilian agencies that can provide shelter or a safe house if you feel threatened. Your attorney can discuss your options.