Domestic violence is just as much of a problem in U.S. military families as it is for the civilian population. With tens of thousands of victims, many observers say the military is not doing enough to prevent abuse and prosecute offenders.
Since 2018, domestic violence has been a distinct crime in the Uniform Code of Military Justice, instead of suspects being charged with general assault or other crimes. This move and a 2021 study by the Government Accountability Office about domestic violence incidents in servicemember families show that the government and military are taking the issue increasingly seriously.
Domestic violence accusations in the military
The study was based on data provided by the Department of Defense covering 2015-19. Over that time, the Defense Department received more than 42,000 reports of domestic abuse across all branches of the military.
The Army recorded the single largest number of reports at 17,289, followed by the Air Force at 10,781, the Navy at 8,614 and the Marine Corps at 5,381. However, only the Army and Air Force kept accurate records over the five-year period. Many domestic violence incidents in the military likely went unreported, meaning the actual totals are likely larger.
Are all claims true?
As military law enforcement and courts face increasing pressure to prosecute domestic violence, it is likely that some servicemembers will face charges based on false accusations. Besides a jail sentence and damage to your military career, a restraining order could stop you from seeing your children or living in your home.
Military law is a different system than the civilian version. When looking for a defense attorney to help you with domestic violence charges, someone who is experienced in military court as well as regular criminal law would give you the best possible advantage.