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Crossroads of the Marine Corps

Family Advocacy Program: know options, end domestic abuse

20 May 2014 | Ameesha Felton Marine Corps Base Quantico

Quantico’s Family Advocacy at Marine Corps Base Quantico Program wants domestic violence victims to know there are options when seeking help. 

The Marine Corps allows victims to disclose information through “restricted” reporting, “unrestricted” reporting and an option that incorporates both. All choices give victims access to the program’s services, counseling and protection. However, Anita Payne, clinical counselor at FAP said it’s important that people understand the details and possible outcome of each choice. 

Victims who prefer confidential support, which doesn’t include informing a service member’s command or law enforcement, can file restricted with one of Quantico’s three victim advocates at FAP. Chip Toney, victim advocate, said this option allows leaders to measure command climate, without revealing individual identities. 

“The command would only know that someone made a restricted report for accountability, as far as numbers, they wouldn’t have a name,” said Toney.

This choice allows the abused to maintain control of how much information they want revealed. Victim advocates help the abused develop a safety plan to prevent continual violence, provide counseling referrals, medical care and information about local military and civilian community resources.

However, because safety is the program’s first priority, Payne said victims cannot report restricted if there is imminent risk of grave danger. Depending on the severity of the report, victim advocates will use their discretion to determine if the abuse is too hazardous to remain confidential.

“Usually, in cases where there is strangulation or a severe risk of lethality, where the person could have died, that report cannot remain restricted,” Payne said.

Victims who want to file unrestricted can contact a victim advocate, military police or a Marine’s chain of command. After that, an investigation will be launched and the victim will be provided a Military Protective Order, for protection, if needed. With this option, the command has authority to take administrative action against the military member, which could lead to separation from the service. 

Payne said victims can also file a dual report, where some details are restricted and others aren’t. 

“A lot people don’t know that you can make a report and decide that you want certain information in that report to be restricted and the other part unrestricted,” Payne said.

She said this option allows the accused to get help without the threat of administrative action. The program provides anger management and other counseling services that can assist in the rehabilitation process. Although, all of these services are voluntary, she said, when the command is aware of a problem, it can be the push that is needed to get a service member involved in voluntary programs. 

“When we have command support, often times they will ensure that the service member attends whatever recommendations that we have in place for them,” Payne said. 

Although making decisions in an abusive relationship can be difficult, Payne said their goal is to make sure victims know there are resources available.


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