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Legal Information: Federal


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June 25, 2013

If I separate from the abuser, is any financial compensation available to me?

Yes. You might qualify for the Transitional Compensation Program, which provides for financial, medical, dental, and commissary (grocery) and exchange (other goods/ products) privileges to family members who are being abused by a Service member.

If you have separated from the abuser, you are eligible for Transitional Compensation if:

  • the Service member has served at least 30 days on active duty;
  • you were married to, or you are the family member of, a Service member and you were residing in his/her home with him/her
  • when the offense occurred; and
  • one of the following is true:
    • the Service member has been administratively separated from active duty due to abuse of a family member; OR
    • s/he was convicted by court-martial of an abuse offense AND either s/he is separated from active duty after the conviction OR s/he is sentenced to forfeiture of all pay and allowances.*

The payments are made once a month for 12-36 months and will begin either:

  • on the date the administrative separation starts; or
  • on the date the court-martial sentence is given or when the pre-trial agreement is approved.**

You will no longer be eligible to receive benefits if you remarry, go back to living with the abuser, or if the conviction is reduced to a lower punishment or the administrative separation is revoked (canceled).**

If the commander is considering separating your spouse from the military, you may want to check with your FAP counselor to make sure the commander prepares the appropriate documentation for you to receive these benefits. You may also check with the FAP to find out what the monthly compensation amount will be for you and your children.

Note: Even if you do not qualify for the Transitional Compensation Program, military service regulations require service members to provide "adequate support" to their family members.** You can talk to the installation legal office for more information.

* See DoD Instruction 1342.24, Transitional Compensation for Abused Dependents
** "The Military Response to Victims of Domestic Violence, Tools for Civilian Advocates," published by the Battered Women's Justice Project

If we are stationed overseas, where can I get help?

Domestic violence victims may become more vulnerable when stationed overseas since there are likely to be fewer services available both on and off the installation.  However, an abuser can still be punished for committing domestic violence against you.  If the batterer is a civilian (such as government employees, civilian contractors, or family member of a military Service member) and commits a domestic violence felony, s/he can be prosecuted in a federal court in the US if the host nation declines to prosecute.  If the batterer is a Service member, s/he can be prosecuted under the Uniform Code of Military Justice even if the host nation declines to prosecute.*

If you are a civilian family member, and the Service member is being relocated overseas, the military does not require you to relocate overseas with the Service member.  (In fact, families with histories of domestic violence may be screened out for overseas relocation because of increased vulnerability and reduced access to services.)  However, if you do relocate overseas, you can still request "relocation for personal safety" if you are a victim of abuse and your safety is at risk.  The military may allow you to transport a vehicle with you (that is in your name or the service member's name) when you relocate.*

To connect with someone who can help you, you can contact the American Domestic Violence Crisis Line by emailing //crisisat866uswomen.org">crisisat866uswomen.org or you can call their crisis line (which is toll-free internationally) by calling the local AT&T operator from the country you are living in and asking to be connected to 866-USWOMEN.  The crisis line is also available in the US to serve families who have loved ones being abused overseas -- dial 1-866-USWOMEN (toll-free).  It is the mission of the American Domestic Violence Crisis Line to serve Americans being abused in foreign countries.  For more information, visit their website at www.866uswomen.org.

* "The Military Response to Victims of Domestic Violence, Tools for Civilian Advocates," page 51, published by the Battered Women's Justice Project


Where can I find additional resources on the Internet?

Here are some places that you might find helpful to reach out to

Military One Source
Phone: 800-342-9647
Web site: https://www.militaryonesource.mil/
Military OneSource is a Department of Defense-funded program providing comprehensive information on every aspect of military life at no cost to active duty, Guard and reserve service members, and their families. Information includes, but is not limited to, deployment, reunion, relationship, grief, spouse employment and education, parenting and child care, and much more.

The Minerva Center
Phone: 410-437-5379
Web site: www.minervacenter.com
Non-profit educational foundation supporting the study of military women and women in war.  The Minerva Center also provides Internet support groups and a listserve.

National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence
Phone: 512-407-9020 (Administration)
Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
Military contacts: www.ncdsv.org/ncd_contacts.html
Military publications: www.ncdsv.org/ncd_militaryresponse.html

National Military Family Association
Phone: 703-823-6632
Web site: www.nmfa.org
The National Military Family Association (NMFA) was created by wives and widows of military personnel who were seeking financial security.  NMFA programs educate military families, the public, and Congress on the rights and benefits of military families.

National Organization for Victim Assistance
Phone: 703-535-6682
Web site: www.try-nova.org
The National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA) provides victim and witness assistance for criminal justice and mental health professionals, advocates, researchers, victims and survivors, and related professionals.

Center for Women Veterans
Department of Veterans Affairs
Phone: 202-273-6193
Website: www.va.gov/womenvet/

Please go to our National Organizations page and click on Military for more helpful resources.  We list places that you can call for help, such as the Department of Defense ("DoD") Safe Helpline (877-995-5247), which offers crisis support service for members of the DoD (military) community affected by sexual assault. It provides live, one-on-one advice, support, and information to the worldwide DoD community.  The service is anonymous, secure, and available 24/7 – providing victims with the help they need, anytime, anywhere.

You can find a relevant article here:
A Considerable Service: An Advocate's Introduction to Domestic Violence and the Military by Christine Hansen, Domestic Violence Report, published by Civic Research Institute. (2001)

You can find the Department of Defense sample Military Protective Order form here: