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Family Advocacy Program

Domestic Violence Awareness


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Who is Eligible for this Program?
The Family Advocacy Program is available to the following personnel:

  • Active Duty (including activated Reserve personnel) and their dependents
  • Retired personnel and their dependents as requested and to the extent resources permit
  • Intimate Partners of Active Duty members who are not beneficiaries [Services are limited to assistance from Family Advocacy Specialists and information and referral.]

Purpose of Program
The Family Advocacy Program is a Congressionally-mandated (Chapter 10 United States Code Section 1058) program that addresses prevention, identification, reporting, investigation, and treatment of intimate partner and child maltreatment and assigns responsibilities for a coordinated community response within the Coast Guard in collaboration with services outside the Coast Guard. Services are provided to minimize the occurrence of maltreatment and to support Coast Guard commands by retaining productive members.

Program Confidentiality
All discussions between a person using the Family in Need of Services program under the Family Advocacy Program and the Family Advocacy Specialist are strictly confidential. Discussions between a person using Family Advocacy Program maltreatment services, where the person has not qualified for the restricted reporting option, are confidential with the following exceptions:

  • The Family Advocacy Specialist is required to report all cases of abuse to Coast Guard Investigative Service.
  • The Family Advocacy Specialist is required to notify all involved active duty members’ commands. Normally the information shared is limited to alleged incident details, the assessed risk for future incidents, and recommendations for protection and alleged offender treatment.
  • All reports of child maltreatment must be reported to the state agency responsible for investigating such reports.

All discussions between a victim of intimate partner maltreatment who has been provided the restricted reporting option and the Family Advocacy Specialist are strictly confidential as long as the victim or other involved persons are not in imminent danger of serious harm.

Reporting Options

  • Restricted Report. Restricted Reporting (RR) allows Coast Guard members and civilian dependents who are victims of Intimate Partner Maltreatment (IPM) to disclose the details of the maltreatment to specific individuals and receive services without requiring that notice be given to the command or law enforcement or the Incident Determination Committee. Victims who choose this option can change to the unrestricted option at any time.
    Victims of IPM who desire RR under this policy must report the IPM to one of the following individuals: Coast Guard healthcare provider, Family Advocacy Specialist, or other Health, Safety Work-Life Regional Practice staff member when performing Family Advocacy Specialist duties, or a Victim Advocate. Disclosure to persons other than these persons may result in an investigation of the allegations by law enforcement. Under RR, protective measures such as military protection orders, military law enforcement assistance, and command assistance will not be available to the victim. Exceptions to RR include the following: Either the victim’s or the alleged offender’s command is already aware of the alleged maltreatment, the victim discloses an allegation in the presence of the alleged offender, or the victim provides information that indicates the victim and/or other household member is in imminent danger of serious injury or that a child was also a victim during an IPM incident".
  • Unrestricted Report. A report of an incident of intimate partner maltreatment by any person, including an adult victim, that uses current reporting channels, e.g., the chain of command, military or civilian law enforcement, or military criminal investigative organization, and the FAP for intervention. All child maltreatment cases are unrestricted and must be reported to FAP and to Child Protective Services.

The following definitions apply to the Family Advocacy Program:

  • Alleged Offender. An individual who reportedly physically or sexually abused, emotionally maltreated, or neglected his or her child, a current or former spouse, intimate partner with whom the individual has shared a domicile, a domestic partner of a military member, or an intrafamilial or extrafamilial caregiver who allegedly physically or sexually abused, emotionally maltreated, or neglected a child in his or her care.
  • Child Protective Services (CPS). A generic term used for the agency charged by statute to investigate allegations of child abuse and neglect. Reports can be made to the appropriate CPS agency by calling the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD.
  • Family Advocacy Specialist (FAS). The staff member at Health, Safety, and Work-Life Regional Practices specifically trained to assist individuals and commands when maltreatment incidents occur.
  • Family In Need of Services (FINS). FINS is a category of FAP services for those cases in which there was a reasonable suspicion of maltreatment that was later determined to not meet the criteria for maltreatment but the persons involved request continued services. FINS clients may also include individuals and families who are impacted by other types of abuse that are not reviewed by the Incident Determination Committee, including elder, sibling, and out-of-home abuse. These services can include individual, marital, or family therapy, anger management groups, other forms of counseling/education related to family issues, and information and referral services. Note: FINS cases are strictly confidential and information about them is not shared without the expressed permission of the clients involved.
  • Incident Determination Committee (IDC). A Coast Guard team of designated individuals tasked with the evaluation of reports of child and intimate partner maltreatment to determine whether they meet the relevant DoD/Coast Guard research-based criteria for the type of maltreatment alleged. Each IDC is the responsibility of the commanding officer of the Coast Guard base or other command to whom the Health, Safety, and Work-Life Regional Manager reports.
  • Maltreatment. A generic term used to include all forms of child and intimate partner abuse and neglect. The 8 types of maltreatment incidents that are reportable to the FAP Incident Determination Committee include: physical, sexual, and emotional child abuse; child neglect; intimate partner physical, sexual, and emotional abuse; and neglect of spouse. Maltreatment as defined here is not meant to encompass conduct defined for the same term in the Manual for Courts-Martial, United States (2012 edition).
  • Victim. A child who is the subject of an alleged incident of child abuse, or a person who is the subject of an alleged incident of intimate partner maltreatment by a person who is the current or former spouse or with whom the alleged abuser shares a child in common, or is a current or former intimate partner with whom the alleged abuser shares or has shared a common domicile, or is a domestic partner of a military service member.
  • Victim Advocate. A Coast Guard-assigned advocate for the victim; a person who can provide emotional support to the victim during interviews, medical procedures and legal proceedings. Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Program, COMDTINST M1754.10 (series) provides guidance regarding victim advocates.

Services and Resources Available
The following services and resources are available within the Family Advocacy Program:

  • Advocacy, risk assessment, and safety planning
  • Domestic Violence Assessment and Counseling
  • Clinical Assessments and Treatment Planning
  • Referrals to programs such as Anger Management, Domestic Violence Treatment Programs, Parenting Classes, Couples Communications, Substance Abuse Programs, and Child Advocacy Centers.
  • Ongoing Case Management and Risk Monitoring by the FAS until situation is resolved
  • Other services/resource required to address the situation

Requesting Services or Resources
These services or resources can be obtained by contacting the Family Advocate Specialist at your Regional Work-Life Staff. Work-Life Staffs are located at Health, Safety and Work-Life Regional Practices throughout the Coast Guard.

Related Program Information
Where possible victims of intimate partner violence can request and receive the Restricted Reporting option (see definition above) so they can receive needed services without initiating the requirement that the member’s command and Coast Guard Investigative Service be notified. See Intimate Partner Maltreatment (IPM) Reporting Options brochure for more information (on CG Portal - search: HSWL SC; path Divisions > Work-Life Division > Family Advocacy Program > Tools and Resources).

Program References
The following references provide details of the Family Advocacy Program:

  • Family Advocacy Program (FAP) - COMDTINST 1752.1 (series) COMDTINST 1752.1 (series)
  • U.S. Coast Guard Transitional Compensation for Abused Dependents - COMDTINST M1754.16A
  • Other FAP-related materials are posted at the Health, Safety and Work-Life Service Center’s FAP CG Portal page (accessible via a Coast Guard workstation only)

List of resources regarding Child Abuse and Victims of Domestic Violence

Point of Contact
If you are unable to contact the Family Advocacy Specialist at the Health, Safety and Work-Life Regional Practice Office in your area, or need additional assistance beyond the information provided here, please contact the regional practice and/or regional practice manager in your area or the Family Advocacy Program Manager, Johanna MacGillivray, LCSW, at (202) 475-5161 or Johanna.MacGillivray@uscg.mil