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Reporting domestic violence in the military

Thumbnail image for 38002573_S.jpgMissouri residents who are in relationships with military service members and who are suffering from domestic violence may choose to report the abuse to either the military system or the civilian court system. The military handles these types of reports differently than the state courts do and has several options available to it.

State courts deal with domestic abuse according to the state's laws. In the military, the commanding officer may use his or her full discretion in determining the most appropriate way to handle domestic violence, including judicial or administrative means. Spouses who are being abused may report their abuse confidentially to victim advocates, chaplains or medical professionals. These people must report the abuse if they believe that it is necessary to prevent something worse from happening, however.

The military defines domestic abuse and domestic violence differently. Domestic abuse occurs when a current or former spouse, an intimate partner with whom the abuser lives or lived, or the person with whom the abuser shares a child, is subjected to a pattern of emotional abuse or economic control has happened. Physical abuse does not have to have occurred for a finding of domestic abuse. Domestic violence involves force and is a crime in the military. Victims of either may be able to get both military protective orders as well as civilian protective orders so that they are protected under both the civil and military systems from their abusers.

It is important for domestic abuse and domestic violence victims to try to get help so that they can end the abuse. They might want to consult with experienced family law attorneys who handle both civilian and military family law matters and who can advise their clients about obtaining orders of protection through both systems.

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