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Domestic violence in the Army may be underreported

The military is ultimately one of the most important avenues to help ensure that the populace stays safe in Colorado and elsewhere. However, a recent study has questioned whether certain instances of domestic violence are being adequately addressed within military families. If the information researchers discovered is accurate, then some children in military families may not be as safe as one would think.

The goal of the study was to determine the rate of reporting of child abuse within Army families. According to what researchers learned, only about 20 percent of cases were ever reported to the agency tasked with assisting military families in need. When children who were diagnosed as having been a victim of abuse were treated at non-military hospitals, it was discovered that only a small proportion of those cases were followed up by the Army Family Advocacy Program (FAP), which is the agency set up to provide assistance to military families struggling with abuse issues.

Additionally, there was also a discrepancy among the numbers of cases of physical abuse and sexual abuse, though the reason is not clear. The most troubling aspect of the study was whether there are minors who are being neglected or abused and are not receiving the help they and their families need. Ideally, the local civilian agencies and the FAP would work to share information when a suspected case of abuse shows up at a medical facility, but up to this point, only one city in Colorado has a good record for cross reporting. If a child is seen at a military installation and medical personnel suspect abuse, then the rate of FAP reports increases dramatically.

The Department of Defense stated that it believes that the best fix to the problem is for the federal government to enact laws that make cross reporting mandatory in order to ensure that any child at risk for harm receives  assistance. Every child deserves to feel safe and protected regardless of family make-up. Colorado families who find themselves in a domestic violence situation can seek the assistance of a family law attorney who can provide information that may allow them to find the best solutions for their particular circumstances.

Source: Forbes, "Up to half of army child abuse cases may never be investigated", Tara Haelle, Dec. 14, 2016

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