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Victims of Domestic Abuse

Domestic Violence, Victims of Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse can be defined as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Domestic abuse cuts across all age groups and social classes. It happens to Sailors as well as spouses; to men as well as women.  Domestic abuse goes beyond physical abuse. It includes emotional abuse such as threats, isolation, extreme jealousy and humiliation. It also includes sexual abuse. Whenever an adult is placed in physical danger or controlled by threat or use of physical force by their spouse or intimate partner, she or he has been abused.   There are two types of reporting options for adult victims of domestic abuse, restricted and unrestricted. Both options make available to victims the full range of advocacy, medical and counseling services.  Restricted reports do not involve military chain of command or law enforcement. 

Unrestricted reports will include some type of investigation by command and or law enforcement. 
Restricted reporting gives a victim time and opportunity to get information and professional advice about their rights and available services, so they can make informed decisions. Often victims initially choose the restricted reporting option and later decide that they want the chain of command notified so that the offender can be held accountable. The option to make a restricted report is available to active duty service members and their spouses. Intimate partners of active duty service members who realize that they are being abused are also urged to contact the Fleet and Family Support.

Many victims of abuse might feel comfortable talking with their healthcare provider but fear that the chain of command and/or law enforcement would be notified. Some victims even avoid seeking medical treatment related to abuse because of fear the information will be disclosed to others. Under the restricted reporting option, adult victims may speak to a healthcare professional at a military medical facility. But it is important that they be direct and ask up front about restricted reporting.  The healthcare provider will provide needed medical care and get them in touch with a victim advocate at the Fleet and Family Support Center.


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