Domestic Violence in the Military: Challenges to Establishing Collaboration Between Military Installations and Civil Communities

Laura J. Hickman, RAND
Lois M. Davis, RAND

The issue of domestic violence involving active duty military personnel, both as victims and perpetrators, is complex and understudied. The presentation focuses on the results of a pilot study assessing issues surrounding the implementation of one recommendation of the Defense Task Force on Domestic Violence. This recommendation calls on the Department of Defense (DoD) to direct installation commanders to establish Memorandums of Understanding with surrounding civilian communities for the handling of service member-involved domestic violence incidents. Given the great variation between and within U.S. states in laws and local practices in responding to domestic violence, implementing this recommendation across all U.S. based installations is likely to be quite challenging. The study is a preliminary assessment of the variation between state level domestic violence laws and local law enforcement practice in 16 states with a major military presence. The findings will be interpreted within the context of the need for a single organization (the DoD) to provide guidane to hundreds of installation commanders, each situated within a relatively unique local environment.

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Updated 05/20/2006