SCHWEINFURT, Germany (Oct. 16, 2013) -- Domestic violence occurs within U.S. military communities around the globe, and the garrison here is no exception: Three domestic violence incidents were reported just last month at this garrison, according to statistics released from the program aimed at curbing family violence.
But Schweinfurt's domestic violence can be prevented. It can be stopped and it can be reported.
"Essentially, as community members, we are all morally obligated to report it or at least help the victim access services," said Schweinfurt's Family Advocacy Program manager, Sara McCauley.
Someone doesn't have to be a victim to report domestic abuse. If you suspect it, report it, McCauley said. The most immediate method of reporting actual or suspected abuse is to call Schweinfurt's Military Police at 09721-96-6766/6624 or DSN 354-6766/6624.
But victims of domestic abuse have two reporting options: restricted or unrestricted reporting.
"Restricted reporting allows a victim to report an incident without starting a law enforcement investigation," said McCauley. "It protects the privacy of the victim or alleged offender. Neither the victim's nor the alleged offender's commander is notified. Victims who wish to file a restricted report should contact a victim advocate or a healthcare provider.
"You also have the option to file an unrestricted report, which will initiate an official investigation," continued McCauley. "This type of report can affect an abuser's career. Victims taking this route should contact the military police, the service member's command or FAP."
In both reporting options, the victim will have access to victim advocacy and FAP services.
"If there has been a threat of life or if there have been injuries that indicate a potential threat, then we are required to report that because our number one goal is to keep our victims safe and supported," McCauley said.
Most referrals she sees are primarily women, although there has been an increase in male referrals in the past year. Referrals remain evenly split between both service members and civilians, she said.
In Schweinfurt's imminent danger cases -- defined as cases involving verbal or physical action with the potential for serious harm -- most victims give an unrestricted report so the abuser is held accountable, McCauley said.
"Generally speaking, victims who get to that point are ready to go unrestricted and get the full range of services," she said. "When a victim provides a restricted report they get medical, chaplain, behavioral health and social help, but with an unrestricted report they can also get legal services and command protection. Command can't offer a no-contact order if they don't know about the case."
A no-contact order is similar to a restraining order.
A community member who is threatened or feels threatened can visit Schweinfurt's Army Community Service at Ledward Barracks Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or call 09721-96-6933 or DSN 354-6933 and speak directly with the FAP manager.
Community members also have the option to speak to Tiffanie McDonough, the victim advocate, who is available 24/7 at 0162-271-1413. Both options are completely confidential.
"Schweinfurt needs everyone's help, from E1 to senior leaders, to ensure that victims are safe and abusers are held accountable, when necessary," said McCauley.