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Family Advocacy

Family Advocacy

General Program Description

The Family Advocacy Program is the congressionally designated program responsible for the prevention of and response to child abuse and neglect and domestic abuse /intimate partner violence in military families. The Family Advocacy Program works in cooperation with military and civilian medical providers, law enforcement, legal personnel, chaplains, and child and youth programs to provide a coordinated community response. The goal of the Family Advocacy Program is to promote the prevention, early identification, reporting and treatment of child and spouse abuse.

Program services vary by installation and generally include the following:

  • Public awareness campaigns, education and support for couples and parents
  • Parenting support at every age and stage, including New Parent Support Program home visits for expectant parents, new parents and families with young children
  • Safety planning, advocacy and support for domestic abuse victims
  • Clinical treatment for offenders and all affected family members as appropriate provided by MEDCOM

Prevention, Education and Outreach

Family Advocacy Program prevention, education and outreach services vary by installation and may be offered in coordination with military or civilian partners. Contact your installation Military and Family Support Center or Family Advocacy Program for local listings. Sample services include the following:

  • Education and skill-building training on topics including stress or anger management
  • Seminars on healthy relationships, couples communication or conflict resolution
  • Parenting support, including the New Parent Support Program, playgroups, educational workshops and opportunities for parents and families at every age and stage
  • Counseling or referrals to services tailored to meet specific family needs and schedules provided by MEDCOM

Child Abuse and Neglect and Domestic Abuse Information and Reporting

Child abuse and neglect: If you have concerns about a child’s welfare or safety, whether at home or in the care of a Department of Defense child or youth program, find your local Family Advocacy Program under the Installation Contacts tab or contact any of the following:

  • Local child protective services, your state’s reporting hotline or Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 800-4-A CHILD (422-4453)
  • For concerns about child abuse or neglect in a DoD child or youth program or school, your installation Family Advocacy Program or the DoD Child Abuse and Safety Violation Hotline at 800-790-1197 in the United States or 571-372-5348 overseas (not a crisis line)

Call 911 or law enforcement if you witness abuse or neglect or a child is in imminent danger.

Domestic abuse: If you or someone you care about needs help, confidential support is available. Please contact the following for information, support and assistance:

  • Your installation Family Advocacy Program

Call 911 or law enforcement if you witness domestic abuse or someone is in immediate danger.

Domestic Abuse Reporting Options

Restricted report: In most instances, domestic abuse victims may request a restricted report, which allows for confidential medical care, counseling, victim advocacy and support services, such as safety planning and legal assistance, without command notification or a law enforcement investigation. A victim must contact a medical care provider or Family Advocacy Program professional to request the restricted reporting option.

Unrestricted report: If a domestic abuse victim requests an unrestricted report, the sponsor’s commander is promptly notified, law enforcement is involved and administrative action against the offender may be taken. The victim remains eligible for all victim advocacy services, including safety planning, legal assistance and specialized support. Contact military law enforcement or the Family Advocacy Program to make an unrestricted report. In an emergency, call 911.

Eligibility Requirements

Family Advocacy Program services are available to service members and family members eligible for care in a military treatment facility. Intimate partners and others may qualify for limited support and referrals as appropriate. Contact your installation Family Advocacy Program for details.

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