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Domestic Abuse: Actions Needed to Enhance DOD's Prevention, Response, and Oversight

GAO-21-289 Published: May 06, 2021. Publicly Released: May 06, 2021.
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Fast Facts

The Department of Defense recorded over 40,000 domestic abuse incidents involving military servicemembers, spouses, or intimate partners from FY 2015-19. Of these, 74% were physical abuse.

DOD and the services have taken steps to prevent and respond to domestic abuse. However, we identified gaps in key areas, including data collection and reporting, implementation and oversight of response activities, and training for key personnel.

We are making 32 recommendations to DOD and the military services to improve their domestic abuse prevention and response, as well as their oversight of these activities.

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Highlights

What GAO Found

The Department of Defense (DOD) met a statutory requirement to collect and report data for incidents that it determined met its criteria for domestic abuse. In fiscal years 2015-2019, DOD determined that over 40,000 domestic abuse incidents met its criteria (see figure), of which 74 percent were physical abuse. However, DOD has not collected and reported accurate data for all domestic abuse allegations received, including those that did not meet DOD's criteria, as statutorily required. Thus, DOD is unable to assess the scope of alleged abuse and its rate of substantiation. In addition, despite a statutory requirement since 1999, DOD has not collected comprehensive data on the number of allegations of domestic violence—a subcategory of different types of domestic abuse that constitute offenses under the Uniform Code of Military Justice—and related actions taken by commanders. Improving collection of these data could enhance DOD's visibility over actions taken by commanders to address domestic violence.

Incidents That Met DOD Criteria for Domestic Abuse (Physical, Emotional, or Sexual Abuse, or Neglect), Fiscal Years 2015-2019

Incidents That Met DOD Criteria for Domestic Abuse (Physical, Emotional, or Sexual Abuse, or Neglect), Fiscal Years 2015-2019

DOD and the military services have taken steps to implement and oversee domestic abuse prevention and response activities, but gaps exist in key areas. For example, the military services perform limited monitoring of installation incident-screening decisions and therefore lack reasonable assurance that all domestic abuse allegations are screened in accordance with DOD policy. In addition, while DOD and the military services have taken steps to promote awareness of reporting options and resources, DOD has not fully addressed challenges in reaching its audience, or developed metrics to assess the effectiveness of its awareness efforts. As a result, DOD and the military services may miss opportunities to provide available resources to victims.

The military services have developed domestic abuse prevention and response training for key personnel that meets some DOD requirements. For example, installation Family Advocacy Programs provide such training to commanders and senior enlisted advisors, but the training GAO assessed from a nongeneralizable sample of 20 installations did not consistently cover all DOD-required topics, and the services have not provided guidance to ensure that training addresses these requirements. As a result, commanders and senior enlisted advisors may not be aware of key responsibilities for domestic abuse prevention and response.

Why GAO Did This Study

Domestic abuse can result in devastating personal consequences and societal costs, and according to DOD, is incompatible with military values and reduces mission readiness. In fiscal year 2019, the military services recorded 8,055 incidents that met DOD's criteria for domestic abuse.

House Reports 116-120 and 116-333 included provisions for GAO to review the military services' efforts to prevent and respond to domestic abuse, including domestic violence. This report examines, among other objectives, the extent to which (1) DOD has met statutory requirements to collect and report complete data on reports of domestic abuse, and describes how many incidents were recorded by DOD in fiscal years 2015-2019; (2) DOD and the military services have implemented and overseen domestic abuse prevention and response activities in accordance with DOD policy; and (3) the military services have developed domestic abuse training for key personnel that meets DOD requirements. GAO analyzed program data, policies, and guidance; assessed documents from a nongeneralizable sample of 20 military installations; and interviewed 68 domestic abuse survivors as well as DOD, service, and civilian officials.

Recommendations

GAO is making 32 recommendations, including that DOD improve its data collection and awareness efforts and that the military services improve monitoring of incident screening and provide guidance for training of key personnel. DOD concurred and described actions planned or underway, as discussed in the report.

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should ensure the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness clarifies guidance for submitting data on the number and types of domestic abuse allegations. (Recommendation 1)
Open
DOD concurred with this recommendation, and in August 2021, DOD officials stated that the department will review its guidance and determine if revisions are needed to provide clarifying guidance for the submission of data on the number and types of domestic abuse allegations. In July 2022, the officials estimated these actions will be completed by September 2022. As of June 29, 2023, DOD has not provided additional information on actions it has taken to implement this recommendation. We will update the status of this recommendation once we confirm what actions DOD has taken.
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should ensure the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness develops a quality control process for reporting accurate and complete data on allegations of abuse, including those that were determined to not meet DOD's criteria for domestic abuse. (Recommendation 2)
Open
DOD concurred with this recommendation, and in August 2021, DOD officials stated that the department will review its guidance and determine if revisions are needed to establish a quality assurance process for reporting accurate and complete data, including incidents that do not meet DoD's definition of domestic abuse. In July 2022, the officials estimated these actions will be completed by September 2022. As of June 29, 2023, DOD has not provided additional information on actions it has taken to implement this recommendation. We will update the status of this recommendation once we confirm what actions DOD has taken.
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should ensure the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness expands the scope of its planned future reporting of domestic abuse data annually to the Congress to include analysis of the types of allegations of abuse. (Recommendation 3)
Open
DOD concurred with this recommendation, and in August 2021, DOD officials stated that the department will determine whether it is appropriate to expand the scope of its annual reporting to include analysis of the types of allegations of abuse. The officials estimated these actions will be completed by April 2023. As of May 16, 2023, DOD has not provided additional information on actions it has taken to implement this recommendation. We will update the status of this recommendation once we confirm what actions DOD has taken.
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should evaluate and, if needed, clarify or adjust responsibilities for tracking domestic violence and related command action data, including how any necessary coordination among responsible offices should occur. (Recommendation 4)
Open
DOD concurred with this recommendation, and in August 2021, DOD officials stated that the department will evaluate the current processes for tracking domestic violence incident data from law enforcement, command actions, and family advocacy programs in alignment with statutory requirements. As of June 2021, the officials stated that the department had selected the Office of Professional Responsibility to build a domestic violence incident database. The officials estimated actions will be completed to address this recommendation by September 2024. As of May 16, 2023, DOD has not provided additional information on actions it has taken to implement this recommendation. We will continue to monitor the DOD's efforts to address this recommendation and will update its status as more information becomes available.
Department of the Army The Secretary of the Army should ensure the cognizant offices revise or issue regulations to clarify that violation of civilian protective orders is punishable under the UCMJ as required by DOD policy. (Recommendation 5)
Open
The Army concurred with this recommendation, and in August 2021, stated that the Army will review and determine whether a policy update is needed to comply with DOD policy providing that a violation of a civilian protection order is punishable under the UCMJ. In March 2023, the Army stated it plans to update its Army Regulation 190-45 to incorporate language that states military personnel who do not comply with a civilian protective order may be subject to administrative or disciplinary action under the UCMJ. The Army estimated these actions will be completed by October 2023. As of December 2023, the Army has not provided additional information on actions it has taken to implement this recommendation. We will update the status of this recommendation once we confirm what actions the Army has taken.
Department of the Navy The Secretary of the Navy should ensure the cognizant offices revise or issue regulations to clarify that violation of civilian protective orders is punishable under the UCMJ as required by DOD policy. (Recommendation 6)
Closed – Implemented
The Navy concurred with this recommendation, and in August 2021, stated that the Navy will review and determine whether an update to policy is necessary to comply with DOD Policy providing that a violation of a civilian protection order is punishable under the UCMJ. In May 2022, the Navy issued an administrative message that states that violation of a civilian protective order may subject the offender to discipline for violation of the UCMJ. By taking this action, the Navy has helped ensure that members of the coordinated community response, including commanders, are aware of and communicate commanders' ability to address violation of a civilian protective order. As of August 24, 2022, this recommendation has been closed as implemented.
Department of the Air Force The Secretary of the Air Force should ensure the cognizant offices revise or issue regulations to clarify that violation of civilian protective orders is punishable under the UCMJ as required by DOD policy. (Recommendation 7)
Open
The Air Force concurred with this recommendation, and in September 2022, stated that the Air Force plans to update Department of the Air Force Instruction 40-301 to address the recommendation. In August 2023, the Air Force estimated these actions will be completed by September 15, 2023. As of December 2023, the Air Force has not provided additional information on actions it has taken to implement this recommendation. We will update the status of this recommendation once we confirm what actions the Air Force has taken.
Department of the Army The Secretary of the Army should develop a process, such as through certification reviews, to ensure installation FAPs attempt to enter into memoranda of understanding with civilian organizations, as appropriate. (Recommendation 8)
Closed – Implemented
The Army concurred with this recommendation, and in October 2022 issued revised certification standards for its military family readiness programs, including its Family Advocacy Program. A checklist associated with these standards stated that installation Family Advocacy Committees should establish or show efforts to establish memoranda of understanding with essential external agencies and resources, such as Child Protective Services and domestic violence shelters. By taking these actions, the Army will have greater assurance that installations are appropriately engaging civilian response partners and establishing processes necessary to successfully operationalize relationships.
Department of the Navy The Secretary of the Navy should develop a process, such as through certification reviews, to ensure installation FAPs attempt to enter into memoranda of understanding with civilian organizations, as appropriate. (Recommendation 9)
Closed – Implemented
The Navy concurred with this recommendation, and in November 2022 provided us with revised certification standards for its Fleet and Family Support Programs, including its Family Advocacy Program, issued in May 2022. These standards state that installation Family Advocacy Committees should establish or show efforts to establish MOUs with essential external agencies and resources, such as Child Protective Services and domestic violence shelters. By taking these actions, the Navy will have greater assurance that installations are appropriately engaging civilian response partners and establishing processes necessary to successfully operationalize relationships.
Department of the Navy The Secretary of the Navy should ensure that the Commandant of the Marine Corps develops a process, such as through certification reviews, to ensure installation FAPs attempt to enter into memoranda of understanding with civilian organizations, as appropriate. (Recommendation 10)
Open
The Navy concurred with this recommendation. In August 2021, the Marine Corps stated that the Marine Corps' certification reviews ensure that installation FAPs attempt to enter into memoranda of understanding with civilian organizations. We reported that the Marine Corps' certification standards require an evaluation of the content of memoranda of understanding but do not assess attempts to enter into memoranda of understanding as appropriate. To fully implement this recommendation, the Marine Corps will need to provide documentation that it has established a process that provides oversight of installation FAPs' efforts to establish memoranda of understanding with civilian organizations. In March 2023, Marine Corps officials stated that its certification reviews were updated so that required evidence includes attempts to enter into memoranda of understanding, such as emails or other communication with external stakeholders. According to the officials, additional efforts are underway to support compliance and are expected to be completed in June 2023. As of December 2023, the Marine Corps has not provided additional information on actions it has taken to implement this recommendation. We will continue to monitor the Marine Corps' efforts to address this recommendation and will update its status as more information becomes available.
Department of the Air Force The Secretary of the Air Force should develop a process, such as through certification reviews, to ensure installation FAPs attempt to enter into memoranda of understanding with civilian organizations, as appropriate. (Recommendation 11)
Open
The Air Force concurred with this recommendation, and in September 2022, stated that the Air Force plans to update Department of the Air Force Instruction 40-301 to address the recommendation. The Air Force estimated these actions will be completed by December 2022. As of August 22, 2023, the Air Force has not provided additional information on action it has taken to address this recommendation. We will update the status of this recommendation once we confirm what actions the Air Force has taken.
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should ensure the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness updates its Family Advocacy Program manual to (1) add and fully define reasonable suspicion as the standard for determining whether an allegation meets the initial threshold to be referred to the IDC, and (2) establish standardized criteria for determining whether reported allegations of abuse meet that threshold. (Recommendation 12)
Open
DOD concurred with this recommendation, and in August 2021, DOD officials stated that the department will review and determine if a definition of reasonable suspicion is necessary to identify the threshold for an incident of domestic abuse to be referred to the Incident Determination Committee. In addition, the department will review and determine whether standardized criteria is needed for determining whether reported allegations of abuse meet the threshold. In February 2023, the officials estimated these actions will be completed by December 2023. We will update the status of this recommendation once we confirm what actions DOD has taken.
Department of the Army The Secretary of the Army should develop a risk-based process to consistently monitor how allegations of domestic abuse are screened at installations to help ensure that all domestic abuse allegations that should be presented to an Incident Determination Committee are consistently presented. (Recommendation 13)
Open
The Army concurred with this recommendation, and in August 2021, stated that the Army will review and determine whether to update its policy to include a risk-based process to monitor how allegations are screened. In February 2023, the Army provided documentation of guidance that states the Commander, U.S. Army Medical Command is responsible for ensuring that all referrals meeting the reasonable suspicion threshold are accepted as a report of abuse and all unrestricted incident reports are reviewed by the Incident Determination Committee. To fully implement the recommendation, the Army will need to provide documentation of a process for monitoring installations' screening of domestic abuse allegations to determine whether the allegations are presented to an Incident Determination Committee for review. As of May 16, 2023, the Army has not provided documentation that meets these requirements. We will continue to monitor the Army's efforts to address this recommendation and will update its status as more information becomes available.
Department of the Navy The Secretary of the Navy should develop a risk-based process to consistently monitor how allegations of domestic abuse are screened at installations to help ensure that all domestic abuse allegations that should be presented to an Incident Determination Committee are consistently presented. (Recommendation 14)
Closed – Implemented
The Navy concurred with this recommendation, and in March 2023 provided us with documentation of a process implemented in October 2022 to monitor how allegations of domestic abuse are screened at installations. According to Navy documentation, on a monthly basis, regional FAP contacts will review allegations that were screened out and not presented to the Incident Determination Committee. The regional contacts will review such allegations for compliance with FAP standards and provide corrective feedback to installations as needed. On a quarterly basis, the regional contact will provide a review summary to the Commander, Navy Installations Command. By taking this action, the Navy has improved its ability to ensure all qualified domestic abuse allegations are presented to the Incident Determination Committee.
Department of the Navy The Secretary of the Navy should ensure that the Commandant of the Marine Corps develops a risk-based process to consistently monitor how allegations of domestic abuse are screened at installations to help ensure that all domestic abuse allegations that should be presented to an Incident Determination Committee are consistently presented. (Recommendation 15)
Open
The Navy concurred with this recommendation. As of August 2021, the Marine Corps stated that it will review and determine if it needs to develop a risk-based process to consistently monitor how allegations of domestic abuse are screened and to help ensure that all domestic abuse allegations that should be presented to an Incident Determination Committee are consistently presented. In March 2023, the Marine Corps estimated these actions will be completed by the end of June 2023. As of December 2023, the Marine Corps has not provided additional information on actions it has taken to implement this recommendation. We will update the status of this recommendation once we confirm what actions the Marine Corps has taken.
Department of the Air Force The Secretary of the Air Force should develop a risk-based process to consistently monitor how allegations of domestic abuse are screened at installations to help ensure that all domestic abuse allegations that should be presented to an Incident Determination Committee are consistently presented. (Recommendation 16)
Open
The Air Force concurred with this recommendation, and in August 2021, stated that the Air Force will review and determine whether to update policy, or provide other guidance, to include a risk-based process to monitor how allegations are screened and to ensure consistent incident reporting to the IDC. In March 2023, the Air Force stated that it plans to update its Air Force Instruction 40-301 to address this recommendation. In August 2023, the Air Force estimated these actions will be completed by September 15, 2023. As of December 2023, the Air Force has not provided additional information on actions it has taken to implement this recommendation. We will update the status of this recommendation once we confirm what actions the Air Force has taken.
Department of the Army The Secretary of the Army should issue guidance, such as through updating its service FAP policy, to specify the risk assessment tools required to be used and the type of personnel responsible for implementing each tool. (Recommendation 17)
Open – Partially Addressed
The Army concurred with this recommendation, and in August 2021, stated that the Army will review and determine whether it needs to update its FAP policy to specify risk assessment tools and the personnel responsible to implement the tools. In February 2023, the Army provided documentation of guidance that states the Commander, U.S. Army Medical Command is responsible for directing all FAP chiefs to implement use of standardized risk assessment tools. To fully implement the recommendation, the Army will need to issue guidance that specifies the type of personnel responsible for implementing each required tool. As of May 16, 2023, the Army has not provided documentation that meets these requirements. We will continue to monitor the Army's efforts to address this recommendation and will update its status as more information becomes available.
Department of the Navy The Secretary of the Navy should issue guidance, such as through updating its service FAP policy, to specify the risk assessment tools required to be used and the type of personnel responsible for implementing each tool. (Recommendation 18)
Closed – Implemented
The Navy concurred with this recommendation, and in July 2022, issued an administrative message that identifies the risk assessment tools required to be used by victim advocates and case managers or designated licensed clinical providers. By taking this action, the Navy has improved its ability to assess risks posed to victims of domestic abuse and to identify and convey the need for critical safety measures.
Department of the Navy The Secretary of the Navy should ensure that the Commandant of the Marine Corps issues guidance, such as through updating its service FAP policy, to specify the risk assessment tools required to be used and the type of personnel responsible for implementing each tool. (Recommendation 19)
Open
The Navy concurred with this recommendation. In March 2023, the Marine Corps stated that its Marine Corps Order 1754.11A published in April 2021 provides updated policy on trauma-informed assessment screening for reports of domestic abuse. In August 2023, the Marine Corps provided us with a standard letter that was sent to Family Advocacy Program managers in the field. The standard letter mentions two enclosures that list each risk assessment tool that shall be used along with the individual who administers the tool, which is intended to expand and reinforce the requirement in Marine Corps Order 1754.11A. We will update the status of this recommendation once we confirm that the enclosures mentioned in the standard letter list each risk assessment tool that shall be used along with the type of personnel responsible for administering the tool.
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should ensure the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness develops the planned communications strategy or takes other action to support the services in increasing awareness of domestic abuse reporting options and resources. (Recommendation 20)
Closed – Implemented
DOD concurred with this recommendation, and in August 2021, DOD officials stated that the department will review and determine whether the annual communications plan included in the Military Community and Family Policy, Military Community Outreach needs to be updated to increase awareness of reporting options and resources. In February 2022, DOD released its Domestic Abuse Outreach and Engagement Plan, which identifies various methods to build awareness, encourage reporting, and increase use of Family Advocacy Program resources. Additionally, the officials stated that the department executed a contract in fiscal year 2021 to develop recommendations to identify strategies and activities to expand the Family Advocacy Program's communications and outreach to victims, service members, and families. By taking these actions, DOD has enhanced its ability to reach and provide support to victims of domestic abuse. As of August 24, 2022 this recommendation has been closed as implemented.
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should ensure the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness develops metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of DOD and military service domestic abuse awareness campaigns, including by identifying a target audience and defining measurable objectives. (Recommendation 21)
Open – Partially Addressed
DOD concurred with this recommendation. In February 2022, DOD released its Domestic Abuse Outreach and Engagement Plan, which identifies various methods to build awareness, encourage reporting, and increase use of Family Advocacy Program resources. The plan identifies key audiences for DOD campaigns. It also states that each military branch should develop a domestic abuse communication plan tailored to its service that is informed by the DOD Domestic Abuse Outreach and Engagement Plan. In addition, in August 2021, DOD officials stated that DOD has entered into a contract to provide the department an additional source for recommendations on strategies and activities to expand FAP's communications and outreach, which will cover evaluating the effectiveness of DOD and service awareness campaigns including audience targets and objectives. In February 2023, the officials estimated these actions will be completed by December 2023. To fully implement this recommendation, DOD should develop metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of DOD and military service domestic abuse awareness campaigns. We will update the status of this recommendation once we confirm what actions DOD has taken.
Department of the Army The Secretary of the Army should update its schedule and milestones and identify and assign resources needed for implementation of the IDC Army-wide. (Recommendation 22)
Open – Partially Addressed
The Army concurred with this recommendation. In July 2021, the Army published an Army Directive and an Execution Order to provide guidance to support the Army's IDC implementation, including a schedule and milestones for completion. In addition, in August 2021, the Army stated it is working closely with DoD to secure required resources for implementation of the IDC Army-wide by October 2022. To fully implement this recommendation, the Army should assign resources needed for implementation of the IDC Army-wide. In February 2023, officials provided additional documentation of the Army's IDC implementation schedule. To fully implement this recommendation, the Army will need to provide documentation that verifies the implementation of the IDC Army-wide.
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should ensure the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness updates its FAP oversight framework to include oversight of IDC proceedings. (Recommendation 23)
Open
DOD concurred with this recommendation, and in August 2021, DOD officials stated that the department will determine if it needs to update its Oversight Framework document to include the IDC. In March 2023, DOD provided a draft Oversight Framework dated November 2021 that identifies plans to conduct monthly or quarterly oversight of IDC proceedings. To fully implement the recommendation, DOD will need to provide a finalized oversight framework that addresses the specific procedures to be used to carry out IDC oversight. In August 2023, DOD stated that it is continuing to work on an oversight process for IDC meetings. DOD estimated these actions will be completed by the end of December 2023.
Department of the Army The Secretary of the Army should establish a formal process to monitor IDCs to ensure they are conducted in accordance with DOD and service policy. (Recommendation 24)
Open
The Army concurred with this recommendation, and in August 2021, cited ongoing actions to address the recommendation. To fully implement the recommendation, the Army will need to provide documentation of an ongoing process to monitor IDCs to ensure they are conducted in accordance with DOD and service policy. In August 2023, the Army said it is working on a final report with the findings for fiscal year 2023 quality assurance assessments of Army IDCs. The officials estimated these actions will be completed January 15, 2024.
Department of the Air Force The Secretary of the Air Force should establish a formal process to monitor IDCs to ensure they are conducted in accordance with DOD and service policy. (Recommendation 25)
Open
The Air Force concurred with this recommendation, and in September 2022, stated that the Air Force plans to update Department of the Air Force Instruction 40-301 to address the recommendation. The Air Force estimated these actions will be completed by December 2022. As of August 22, 2023, the Air Force has not provided additional information on action it has taken to address this recommendation. We will update the status of this recommendation once we confirm what actions the Air Force has taken.
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should assess the risks associated with its current disposition model and the feasibility, advantages, and disadvantages of alternate disposition models for domestic violence. This could include elevating the disposition authority, requiring additional review of these dispositions, or other methods as appropriate. (Recommendation 26)
Open
DOD concurred with this recommendation, and in August 2021, DOD officials stated that DOD's Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault in the Military recommended that the prosecution of sexual assaults and related crimes, including domestic violence, be removed from the military chain of command and moved to an independent prosecution system. The officials stated that the Secretary of Defense approved the recommendation. In March 2023, DOD officials stated that Special Trial Counsels are in development, which will exercise exclusive authority over certain offenses, including domestic violence and related crimes. According to the officials, the new disposition process will take effect on December 28, 2023. We will update the status of this recommendation as more information becomes available.
Department of the Army The Secretary of the Army should provide additional guidance or sample training materials for installation-level commander and senior enlisted advisor domestic abuse training that meets all DOD requirements. (Recommendation 27)
Open
The Army concurred with this recommendation, and in August 2021, stated that the Army is reviewing its policies to determine whether to include installation level domestic abuse training requirements for commanders and senior enlisted advisors and whether to develop updated training materials to meet DOD requirements. In March 2023, the Army stated it will publish standardized installation-level domestic abuse training slides that meet DOD requirements for commanders and senior enlisted advisors to receive such training. The officials estimated these actions will be completed in June 2023. As of December 2023, the Army has not provided additional information on actions it has taken to implement this recommendation. We will update the status of this recommendation once we confirm what actions the Army has taken.
Department of the Navy The Secretary of the Navy should provide additional guidance or sample training materials for installation-level commander and senior enlisted advisor domestic abuse training that meets all DOD requirements. (Recommendation 28)
Closed – Implemented
The Navy concurred with this recommendation, and in January 2021 issued a new Family Advocacy Program Training Curriculum for stakeholders of the installation coordinated community response - including commanders and senior enlisted advisors. This curriculum, which included a set of six PowerPoint slides and a facilitation guide for Family Advocacy Program personnel to support installation-level training, was provided to installations as sample training materials. The training materials address all DOD requirements for domestic abuse training, including resources available on and the off the installation, protective factors, and procedures when domestic abuse occurs before deployment. By taking these actions, the Navy will help ensure that commanders and senior enlisted advisors are provided with consistent training that addresses all DOD required topics, and thereby help improve awareness of their roles and responsibilities in preventing and responding to domestic abuse incidents.
Department of the Navy The Secretary of the Navy should ensure that the Commandant of the Marine Corps provides additional guidance or sample training materials for installation-level commander and senior enlisted advisor domestic abuse training that meets all DOD requirements. (Recommendation 29)
Closed – Implemented
The Navy concurred with this recommendation, and in September 2022 issued a new FAP Training for Commanders and Senior Enlisted Advisors, which was provided to installations to fulfill the training requirement for commanders and senior enlisted advisors. The training materials address all DOD requirements for domestic abuse training, including resources available on and the off the installation, protective factors, and procedures to follow when domestic abuse occurs before deployment. By taking these actions, the Marine Corps will help ensure that commanders and senior enlisted advisors are provided with consistent training that addresses all DOD required topics, and thereby help improve awareness of their roles and responsibilities in preventing and responding to domestic abuse incidents.
Department of the Air Force The Secretary of the Air Force should provide additional guidance or sample training materials for installation-level commander and senior enlisted advisor domestic abuse training that meets all DOD requirements. (Recommendation 30)
Closed – Implemented
The Air Force concurred with this recommendation, and in September 2022 issued a new FAP Domestic Abuse Training for Installation Commanders and Senior Enlisted Advisors, which was provided to installations to fulfill the training requirement for commanders and senior enlisted advisors. The training materials address all DOD requirements for domestic abuse training, including resources available on and the off the installation; protective factors; and procedures to follow when domestic abuse occurs before deployment. By taking these actions, the Air Force will help ensure that commanders and senior enlisted advisors are provided with consistent training that addresses all DOD required topics, and thereby help improve awareness of their roles and responsibilities in preventing and responding to domestic abuse incidents.
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should ensure the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in coordination with the Secretaries of the military departments, develops a process to ensure the quality and completeness of commander and senior enlisted advisor domestic abuse training completion data. (Recommendation 31)
Open
DOD concurred with this recommendation, and in August 2021, DOD officials stated that the department will coordinate with the military departments to review and determine a process to ensure the quality and completeness of commander and senior enlisted advisor domestic abuse training completion data. In February 2023, the officials stated that the department is working to move the training to a platform that is widely used by service members and collects training completion data. The officials estimated these actions will be completed by December 2023. We will update the status of this recommendation once we confirm what actions DOD has taken.
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should ensure the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness specifies learning objectives or content requirements for chaplain training on domestic abuse by updating DOD Instruction 6400.06 or through other methods. (Recommendation 32)
Closed – Implemented
DOD concurred with this recommendation, and in August 2021, DOD officials stated that the department will review and determine whether any specific content requirements for chaplain training are necessary and appropriate to be included in DOD Instruction 6400.06 or through other methods. In May 2022, DOD updated DOD Instruction 6400.06 to include specific learning objectives and content requirements for chaplain training. By taking this action, DOD has helped ensure that chaplain training is comprehensive of chaplains' responsibilities for domestic abuse prevention and response and better positioned chaplains to respond to disclosures of abuse. As of August 24, 2022 this recommendation has been closed as implemented.

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