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Family Advocacy Program

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Victim Advocacy

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. 

What is partner abuse?  Partner abuse is 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.

Ways to report:

  • 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.

Shelters: 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..

Contact Numbers
Crisis Intervention Hotline

Duty Hours: +1(706) 545-7594           After hours: +1(762) 408-2234

Educational Programs

Prevention Programs:  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.

Troop Education: 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.

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 finger printing 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

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 trainings to active duty members, family members, DOD civilians and contract personnel on how to stay safe and what to do if 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 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 thatvictims 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 post, and on or off duty.

Intentional sexual contact characterized by 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 contact 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, 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 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 or

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? 

  1. Soldiers: Report incidents of Sexual Harassment to their respective SARC.
  2. 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 (NPSP) is a program offered to Army Families to enhance parent and infant attachment, increase knowledge of child development, and provide connections to support services that allow parents to become nurturing and capable caregivers.

The NPSP staff consists of registered nurses and a licensed social worker who provide in-home parenting education, support, and resource linkage. NPSP targets all Families with children 3 years of age and younger.  Program entry may occur by self-referral, referral by a health professional, or by the Command. The program activities include risk assessments, home visits, provision of health and child development services, clinic and hospital visits, respite support, parenting classes and other concrete services as needed.

 You don’t have to be a new parent to participate. Expectant parents are eligible for NPSP services.

What can NPSP do for me?

  • Home visits--Our professional staff provides supportive and caring services to military Families that are pregnant, or with children through the age of three years. They can talk about your concerns as a parent or parent-to-be, and help you learn to cope with stress, isolation, post deployment reunions, and the everyday demands of parenthood in the privacy of your home. Home visits are provided by appointment and can take place in the home, the NPSP offices (Bldg.2652) or at another mutually agreed upon site.To schedule a home visit, call (706) 545-6316

  • Nurturing Parenting Education— An evidenced based program that fosters positive parenting skills with nurturing behaviors and teaches appropriate role and development expectations. Classes are offered one-on- one, couples, or family and can be scheduled in home or as an office visit.  For more information call (706) 545-6316/9358/9857.

  • 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 diagnostic tests.  For class schedule, call 706-545-6316/9857.

  • Breastfeeding and Lactation Support – We have Certified Lactation Counselors to provide up to date researched information on lactation and breastfeeding education and counseling.  For lactation education and assistance call 706-545-6316/9857/9358.

  • Play and Learn Playgroups- An interactive playgroup for children ages birth to three years that assist parents in learning developmentally appropriate play techniques and to help children improve their social, cognitive, and motor skills. Structured activities include singing and dancing, story time, a craft project, and free play time. Playgroups occur on the third Thursday of each month at the Blue Field Pavilion, Zuckerman Avenue.  For questions, call 706-545-6316.   

More Community Support


Trees for Troops

Dec 3 10:30 am

SFRG Foundations Training

Dec 9 10 am - 12 pm

Holiday Photos at Riverside

Dec 14 4 pm - 7 pm

Casualty Response (CARE) Team Training

Dec 27 9 am - 12 pm

Babysitting Classes

Feb 18 8:30 am - 5 pm

Babysitting Classes

Feb 18 8:30 am - 5 pm