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What are the types of reporting for domestic violence in the military?

If you face a domestic violence charge while you are serving in the military or as a spouse of a military member, there are a couple of ways the reporting may go. Each offers different reporting elements.

Military OneSource explains the domestic violence reporting options are restricted or confidential and unrestricted or non-confidential.

Restricted or confidential

If the person makes a restricted or confidential report, then command and military law enforcement will not receive an alert of the filed report. It will only go to domestic abuse victim advocates, FAP clinicians and health care providers. The person making the report can also talk with a chaplain. Restricted reporting is not an option if there are children who are also experiencing abuse. This situation requires mandatory reporting to law enforcement and other agencies.

Unrestricted or non-confidential

If the person uses unrestricted or non-confidential reporting, then law enforcement and command will receive notices. It will trigger a legal investigation of the situation. The reporter can get a protective order as well. The reporter also will have access to legal services and can receive other assistance.

In both cases, services are available to the person reporting. Also, in both situations, you should be cautious to protect yourself. You could face legal action even with restricted or confidential reporting even though there is no law enforcement contact. In addition, such a report could later become evidence in a case against you. That is why it is imperative to be aware of your rights and to pay attention to any instructions you get about interaction with the other person. You do not want to make the situation worse or provide evidence that the person could later use against you.