Family Advocacy Program Fort Benning
2020 Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Domestic Violence Awareness Month is an annual designation observed throughout the month of October. For many, a home is a place of love, warmth, and comfort. It’s somewhere where you know you will be surrounded by care and support, and a nice little break from the busyness of the real world. But for millions of others, home is anything but a sanctuary.
With the global increase in domestic violence cases during the COVID-19 pandemic, awareness and action are urgently needed. This October, the Fort Benning Family Advocacy Program (FAP) has organized and arranged several virtual pieces of training and presentations to prevent, intervene, and bring awareness to the Fort Benning community about domestic violence. Click on each event to see more information.
- Walk a mile – Annual Awareness Walk for Domestic Violence | Oct 1-31
- Connecting the Dots: Animal Abuse (presented by Dr. Phil Arkow) | Oct 6
- Military Protective Order (MPO), What You Need to Know! | Oct 7
- Civilian Protective Orders, What You Need to Know! | Oct 8
- Finding Resilience and Hope Through Victims Telling Their Stories | Oct 14
- Intimate Partner Violence and Suicide Presentation | Oct 15
- From the Eyes of a Child | Oct 22
- Hope Harbour Provies Emergency Shelter and Crisis Intervention | Oct 27
- Domestic Violence Intervention: presented by Fay Fountain | Oct 28
- Intimate Partner Violence and Alcohol and Substance Abuse | Oct 30
Training Video Links
Social Media and Drug Culture. Get the link here.
Mike Domitrz video series for Teens on Teen Dating, Violence and Prevention. Find over 20 videos here.
Screamfree Parenting: In a Time of Crisis. Get the link here.
Sexual Abuse and Considerations for Children and Teens. Get the link here.
Illicit Drug Use By Kids and Teens- Tools for Parents presented by FAP and the Bradford Health Services. Click here for the link.
Anger Management: Strategies for Parents, Kids, and Teens. Click here for the link.
Preventing Self-Harming Behaviors and Suicidality. Click here for the link.
Practical & Creative Ways to Use the 5 Love Languages. Click here for the link.
Ethics for Professionals. Click here for the link.
What is partner abuse?
Partner abuse is a pattern of behavior resulting in emotional or psychological abuse, economic control, or interference with personal liberty. Spouse or partner abuse can include something as obvious as a slap or a hit but also includes less noticeable controlling, threatening, or emotionally abusive behaviors. No one should stay in a relationship where he or she is being physically or emotionally abused by a partner or spouse.
I suspect my friend is a victim? What should I do?
Please encourage your friend to seek professional help through the Family Advocacy Program. Do not attempt to resolve the situation by yourself. Domestic violence is a very complex and dangerous issue.
What about my privacy?
The military is committed to protecting the victim’s privacy. Depending on the severity of the situation, a victim has a reasonable expectation of confidentiality if he or she first contacts a victim advocate or health care provider at one of the on-post clinics or Martin Army Community Hospital. In cases where there is an obvious danger or imminent threat of harm, or in the case of child abuse, a care provider may have to notify others to ensure the safety of all persons involved. Abuse victims worried about their privacy can call for assistance and remain anonymous until they feel comfortable about their options.
Is there help for the abuser?
Many spouses would like to find help for their abusive partner, and the abuser may welcome it. Marriage or couples counseling is often not a good choice, but there are other very good options, including support groups or counseling designed specifically for abusers.
What is the commander's role?
Commanders and other leaders are required to report, to seek help for all parties involved and to help ensure safety to the fullest extent possible. Commanders and the military or local police may document the abuse, arrest the offender, secure a military or civilian no-contact/protective order for the victim, find legal assistance and order the offender into treatment. Although commanders are concerned about the safety of families in their units, they cannot help if they don’t know there is a problem. Out of fear that a report will damage a Soldier’s career, victims may not come forward unless they are provided an option to keep their situation completely private.
How are children affected by domestic abuse?
Children usually know something is not right, even if they haven’t witnessed violence. They may show different reactions according to their age. Most offenders have learned their behavior from growing up in an abusive home of their own. Younger children may blame themselves and feel guilt, shame, and anxiety. They may become withdrawn, less talkative, and they may exhibit regressed behaviors such as clinging and whining. Difficulties eating and sleeping, concentration problems, and physical complaints (e.g., headaches) may also occur.
- Contact 24 hour hotline: GA +1(800) 334-2836 AL +1(800) 650-6522
- Family Advocacy Program: +1(706) 545-7594 or +1(706) 626-2614
- Family Advocacy Program Clinical Treatment: +1(762) 408-4076
- Chaplain’s Family Life Center: +1(706) 545-1760
- Martin Army Community Hospital Emergency Room: +1(762) 408-2234
- Military Police: 911
- Restricted – Allows victims the option of receiving medical treatment, advocacy, and counseling without an official investigation or command involvement.
- Unrestricted – Victims receive medical treatment, advocacy, counseling, and an official investigation of their allegation. This option ensures the widest range of rights and protections to the victim.
There is a shelter available in the community for female victims of abuse and their children. Victims who fear the loss of income if a Soldier is arrested or kicked out of the Army may take comfort in knowing that the military has programs that may offer financial support. FAP contracts with the Crisis Center of Russell County, Ala., and Columbus Hope Harbour to provide a Georgia 24-hour hotline +1(800) 334-2836 or Alabama 24hr hotline, +1(800) 650-6522.
Do you suspect child abuse or neglect?
If you suspect that a child is being neglected or abused contact.
- Family Advocacy Program Clinical (Treatment) : +1(762) 408-4076
- Department of Family and Children Services in Muscogee County: +1(706)649-7549
- Department of Family and Children Services in Chattahoochee County: +1(706)989-3681
- Provost Marshal Office: +1(706) 545-5222
- MP: 911
Crisis Intervention Hotline
Strengthening and stabilizing intimate relationships is one approach to preventing marital distress and abuse. Spouse abuse prevention programs help develop communication, decision making, and conflict resolution skills. Strategies may include educational programs and interactive workshops on communication, conflict resolution, assertiveness, stress management, and marital enrichment, as well as programs for children who witness violence. Programs for single Soldiers and adolescents teach similar topics such as relationship skills, dating, violence awareness, and sexual harassment.
Command Education Program
Within 45 days of taking command, commanders at all levels will receive a briefing on the FAP and Sexual Assault Program. Information will be provided on policies, procedures, available resources, command responsibilities in the areas of identification, reporting, coordination, rehabilitation, and administrative or judicial options.
Mandatory classes are provided annually on the dynamics of spouse and child abuse, the availability of treatment and the Army’s policies regarding family violence.
Education for Professionals
The FAP provides training to mental health professionals on a variety of topics affecting Families, teens and children. Visit our Facebook page to learn about on-going trainings.
The Victim Advocacy Program provides comprehensive assistance and support to victims of spouse abuse, including crisis intervention, assistance in securing treatment for injuries, information on legal rights and proceedings, referral to military and civilian shelters, and other resources. An advocate will ensure victims are properly advised of their options for restricted and unrestricted reporting.
Safety Education Programs
There are two target groups for safety education. The first target group is composed of parents, teachers, caregivers and all concerned adults who need information about how to protect children and communicate with them about child abuse. The second target group, children and teens, need programs and activities geared to their ability to understand and act on safety and exploitation issues including child abuse. Education programs should help children develop skills to protect themselves against abuse. These programs may include other community efforts such as fingerprinting and neighborhood safe house programs.
Family Life Education
This is education focusing on enrichment programs that provide knowledge, social relationship skills, and support throughout the family life cycle. The goal is to improve life management and family coping skills, enhance self-esteem, and improve communication skills and marital relationships. Family life education overlaps with spouse and child abuse prevention programming and is often shared with the chapel and other installation agencies.
Parent Education Program
This program involves education that is designed to enhance parenting and child management skills. Parent education and support groups may be combined to provide a forum for parents to exchange ideas, information, and resources and to practice new behaviors. The program also may reinforce or teach basic skills in physical care, protection, supervision, and psychological nurturing appropriate to a child’s age and stage of development.
Respite care is temporary child care for the purpose of relieving parental stress and to provide a nurturing and developmentally appropriate environment. Families may receive respite care when both Soldier and spouse attend parenting classes, counseling, support groups, or are experiencing stress from deployment-related or family issues. Respite care will not be used in place of foster care or abandoned children.
First Steps Program
A primary prevention program that provides emotional support, parenting education, referrals to community resources, and follow-up contact to parents with newborns. The program activities include screenings, information and referral, clinic and hospital visits, respite support and other services as needed.
Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) Program
The SHARP Program’s mission is to reduce with an aim toward eliminating sexual offenses within the Army through cultural change, prevention, intervention, investigation, accountability, advocacy/response, assessment, and training to sustain the All-Volunteer Force.
SHARP provides crisis intervention and support services to victims of sexual assault, 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. Trained victim advocates provide a helping hand through support, critical information, and referrals for services on Fort Benning and in the community. Advocates assist survivors in determining what they wish to do and where to get help, whether they choose to report the assault or not. They accompany survivors to medical visits, court proceedings, and other appointments as requested. The SHARP also provides education and awareness training to active duty members, family members, DOD civilians, and contract personnel on how to stay safe and what to do if an assault occurred.
Sexual Assault Response Coordinator & Victim Advocate
Sexual Assault Response Coordinator & Victim Advocate: Sexual Assault Response Coordinators and Victim Advocates are vital to the success of the SHARP Program in preventing sexual harassment and sexual assault. SARCs and VAs provide mandatory training to Soldiers, Command, and the Department of the Army Civilians.SARCs and VAs provide well-coordinated and highly responsive advocacy 24 hours per day/7 days per week both in Garrison and deployed environments. SARCs and VAs ensure that victims are aware of the reporting options (Restricted and Unrestricted) and provide support through the trauma of sexual harassment and/or sexual assault. Persons can reach a SARC orVA 24/7 via the Fort Benning SHARP hotline at +1(706) 566-7393.
What is sexual harassment? What is sexual assault?
Sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination that involves unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature between the same or opposite genders. For military personnel, the working environment pertains 24/7, on or off the post, and on or off duty.
Intentional sexual contact characterized by the use of force, threats, intimidation, or abuse of authority or when the victim does not or cannot consent. Sexual assault includes rape, forcible sodomy (oral or anal sex), and other unwanted sexual contacts that is aggravated, abusive, or wrongful (including unwanted and inappropriate sexual contact), or attempts to commit these acts. [Source: Glossary, DoDD 6495.01, 23 Jan 12]
Consent is not given when a person uses force, the threat of force, coercion, or when the victim is asleep, incapacitated, or unconscious.
Sexual assault can occur without regard to gender, spousal relationship, or age of the victim.
I've been assaulted. What should I do?
Go to a safe location away from the perpetrator.
Preserve all evidence of the assault. Do not bathe, wash your hands, or brush your teeth. If you are still where the crime occurred, do not clean, or straighten up, or remove anything from the crime scene.
Contact a Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) or Sexual Assault Prevention & Response Victim Advocate (SAPR VA).
Fort Benning SHARP HOTLINE: +1(706) 566-7393
Contact DoD Safe Helpline for live, one-on-one support, and information. The service is confidential, anonymous, secure, and available worldwide, 24/7 by click, call, or text – providing victims with the help they need anytime, anywhere:
Safe Helpline: +1(877) 995-5247
Seek medical care as soon as possible. Even if you do not have any visible physical injuries, you may be at risk of becoming pregnant or acquiring a sexually transmitted disease.
Ask the health care personnel to conduct a sexual assault forensic examination to preserve forensic evidence.
If you suspect you have been drugged, request that a urine sample be collected.
Write down, tape, or record by any other means all the details you can recall about the assault and your assailant.
What is the Reporting Procedure for Sexual Harassment?
Soldiers: Report incidents of Sexual Harassment to their respective SARC. Department of the Army Civilians: DA Civilians, former employees, or applicants seeking employment, and certain contract employees who believe they have been subjected to sexual harassment can file an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint with a local Army EEO office. They must initiate contact with an EEO official or counselor within 45 days of the action or practice alleged to be discriminatory.
Fort Benning EEO Office: +1(706) 545-1872
The Army affords Soldiers and Adult Family Member victims of sexual assault with two reporting options:
(HQDA EXORD 221-12 2012: Restricted report options were extended to Adult Dependent Family Members assaulted by someone other than a spouse or intimate partner.)
Restricted: Sexual assault victims who want to confidentially disclose a sexual assault without triggering an official investigation can contact a SARC/SHARP Specialist, VA/SHARP Specialist, or a healthcare provider. By filing a restricted report with a SARC/SHARP Specialist, VA/SHARP Specialist, or a healthcare provider, a victim can disclose the sexual assault without triggering an official investigation AND receive medical treatment, advocacy services, legal assistance, and counseling. Victim conversations with a SARC/SHARP Specialist or VA/ SHARP Specialist about the sexual assault are confidential communications, not to be disclosed to others, including law enforcement or the chain of command, except in a few very rare circumstances.
Discussing a sexual assault with a chaplain is not the same as filing a restricted report, but communications with a chaplain are privileged under Military Rule of Evidence 503 and AR 165-1.
Unrestricted: This option is for victims of sexual assault who desire medical treatment, counseling, legal assistance, SARC/SHARP Specialist and VA/SHARP Specialist assistance, and an official investigation of the crime. When selecting unrestricted reporting, you may report the incident to the SARC/SHARP Specialist or VA/SHARP Specialist, request healthcare providers to notify law enforcement, contact law enforcement yourself, or use current reporting channels, e.g., chain of command. Upon notification of a reported sexual assault, the SARC/SHARP Specialist will immediately assign a VA/SHARP Specialist. You will also be advised of your right to access to legal assistance that is separate from prosecution resources. At the victim’s discretion/request, the healthcare provider shall conduct a sexual assault forensic examination (SAFE), which may include the collection of evidence. Details regarding the incident will be limited to only those personnel who have a legitimate need to know.
Who can make a restricted report?
Restricted reporting is available to military personnel, active duty, Reserve and National Guard, provided they are performing federal duty and their adult dependent family members.
New Parent Support Program
The New Parent Support Program increases knowledge of child development and provides connections to the support services that allow parents to become capable caregivers.
The NPSP staff consists of licensed social workers and registered nurses who provide in-home parenting education, support, and resources. Primary prevention (NPSP-Standard) targets families with children 3 years and younger. Priority is given to first-time or single parents and dual military families. Program entry may occur by self-referral or through a referral by a health professional or military command. Activities include screenings; information and referral; clinic and hospital visits; classes and childcare; support groups; respite support; and play mornings. Secondary prevention (NPSP-Plus) targets parents at moderate to high risk. Program entry may occur by self-referral or a referral by FAP, a health professional, or military command. Activities include risk assessment; periodic assessment during service delivery; home visiting; health and child development services; role modeling and mentoring, respite support, and other services as needed; and parent classes, play mornings, and groups.
You don’t have to be a new parent to participate. Expectant parents are eligible for NPSP services. Family Advocacy offers classes to parents with children of all ages. Free child care is offered. Sign up two weeks prior to the class.
What can NPSP do for me?
- Play and Learn: This interactive playgroup helps parents learn developmentally appropriate play techniques and helps children improve social, cognitive, and motor skills. Activities include singing and dancing, storytime, crafts, and play. We meet the first and third Thursday of each month from 9:30-11 a.m. in Building 2652 on Dixie Road. You must provide immunization records. Call +1(706) 545-9358 or +1(706) 626-2599 for more information.
- Nurturing Parenting for Prenatal Families Classes: Get your pregnancy off to a good start when you learn to maintain a healthy lifestyle through exercise, proper nutrition, and rest. We discuss what occurs during prenatal visits and the reason for various pregnancy tests. For the class schedule, call 706-626-2599.
- Foster Care: A voluntary or court-mandated program for abused/neglected children that provides 24-hour care and supportive services in a home or group facility for children who cannot be cared for by their own families. Families interested in becoming foster care parents may contact their local Department of Family and Children Services.