The Family Advocacy Program is committed to the development of strong Army Families and the prevention and treatment of family violence. It is our mission to prevent and intervene in cases of family distress, to encourage healthy relationships, to promote child safety and prevent abuse and neglect. We offer training to help Army Families develop skills to cope with the stresses of military life.
Domestic Violence Assistance and Prevention
What is partner abuse?
Partner abuse is pattern of behavior resulting in emotional or psychological abuse, economic control or interference with personal liberty. Spouse or partner abuse can include something as obvious as a slap or a hit, but also includes less noticeable controlling, threatening or emotionally abusive behaviors. No one should stay in a relationship where he or she is being physically or emotionally abused by a partner or spouse.
I suspect my friend is a victim. What can I do?
The Family Advocacy Program offers a variety of options. Please encourage your friend to seek professional help through the Family Advocacy Program or Social Work Service. Do not attempt to resolve the situation by yourself. Domestic violence is a very complex and dangerous issue.
What about my privacy?
The military is committed to protecting the victim’s privacy. Depending on the severity of the situation, a victim has a reasonable expectation of confidentiality if he or she first contacts a victim advocate or health care provider at one of the on-post clinics or Martin Army Community Hospital. In cases where there is an obvious danger or imminent threat of harm, or in the case of child abuse, a care provider may have to notify others to ensure the safety of all persons involved. Abuse victims worried about their privacy can call for assistance and remain anonymous until they feel comfortable about their options. Contact a victim advocate at 706-545-7594 or 706-626-2614 weekdays between 8am and 4:30pm.to learn more about victim privacy.
Help for the abuser?
Many spouses would like to find help for their abusive partner, and the abuser may welcome it. Marriage or couples counseling is often not a good choice, but there are other very good options, including support groups or counseling designed specifically for abusers.
What is the commander's role?
Commanders and other leaders are required to report, to seek help for all parties involved and to help ensure safety to the fullest extent possible. Commanders and the military or local police may document the abuse, arrest the offender, secure a military or civilian no-contact/protective order for the victim, find legal assistance and order the offender into treatment. Although commanders are concerned about the safety of families in their units, they cannot help if they don’t know there is a problem. Out of fear that a report will damage a Soldier’s career, victims may not come forward unless they are provided an option to keep their situation completely private.
How are children affected by domestic violence?
Children usually know something is not right, even if they haven’t witnessed violence. They may show different reactions according to their age. Most offenders have learned their behavior from growing up in an abusive home of their own. Younger children may blame themselves and feel guilt, shame and anxiety. They may become withdrawn, less talkative, and they may exhibit regressed behaviors such as clinging and whining. Difficulties eating and sleeping, concentration problems and physical complaints (e.g., headaches) may also occur.
Resources for Victims
- Contact (24 hour hotline): GA 1-800-334-2836 AL 1-800-650-6522
- Family Advocacy Program: 706-545-7594 or 706-626-2614
- Martin Army Community Hospital Emergency Room: 706-544-1123
- Social Work Service: 706-545-1661 or 706-545-3308
- Chaplain’s Family Life Center: 706-545-1760
- Military Police: 911
- Restricted - Allows victims the option of receiving medical treatment, advocacy and counseling without an official investigation or command involvement.
- Unrestricted - Victims receive medical treatment, advocacy, counseling and an official investigation of their allegation. This option ensures the widest range of rights and protections to the victim.
There is a shelter available in the community for female victims of abuse and their children where they can receive confidential counseling on how to heal their relationship or escape, depending on the victim’s desires. Victims who fear the loss of income if a Soldier is arrested or kicked out of the Army may take comfort in knowing that the military has programs that may offer financial support in some cases. Spouse Abuse Shelters: The FAP contracts with the Crisis Center of Russell County, Ala., and Columbus Hope Harbour to provide a Georgia 24-hour hotline 1-800-334-2836 or Alabama 24hr hotline, 1-800-650-6522
Do you suspect child neglect or abuse?
If you suspect that a child is being neglected or abused contact..
- Social Work Service: 706-545-1661/3308
- Department of Family and Children Services in Muscogee County: 706-649-7549
- Department of Family and Children Services in Chattahoochee County: 706-989-3281
- Provost Marshal Office: 706-545-5222
Crisis Intervention Hotline
The FAP manager provides immediate intervention on the resolution of an immediate child abuse/neglect or spouse abuse problem, protecting the victim and preventing further maltreatment through the use of community, medical and legal resources.
Strengthening and stabilizing intimate relationships is one approach to preventing marital distress and abuse. Spouse abuse prevention programs help develop communication, decision making and conflict resolution skills. Strategies may include educational programs and interactive workshops on communication, conflict resolution, assertiveness, stress management and marital enrichment, as well as programs for children who witness violence. Programs for single Soldiers and adolescents teach similar topics such as relationship skills, dating, violence awareness and sexual harassment.
Command Education Program
Within 45 days of taking command, commanders at all levels will receive a briefing on the FAP and Sexual Assault Program. Information will be provided on policies, procedures, available resources, command responsibilities in the areas of identification, reporting, coordination, rehabilitation, and administrative or judicial options. To schedule Command briefings call (706) 545-4013.
Mandatory classes are provided annually on the dynamics of spouse and child abuse, the availability of treatment and the Army’s policies regarding family violence. To schedule Troop Education call: (706) 545-4013.
Education for Professionals
The FAP provides funding for all Fort Benning professionals who work with families and children. The FAP manager sponsors a biennial conference for the tri-community on spouse/child abuse, teen violence and related issues. To schedule attendance call: (706) 545-4013.
The Victim Advocacy Program provides comprehensive assistance and support to victims of spouse abuse, including crisis intervention, assistance in securing treatment for injuries, information on legal rights and proceedings,referral to military and civilian shelters and other resources. An advocate will ensure victims are properly advised of their options for restricted and unrestricted reporting. To contact a Victim Advocate call: (706) 545-3202 or (706) 626-2614.
Safety Education Programs
There are two target groups for safety education. The first target group is composed of parents, teachers, caregivers and all concerned adults who need information about how to protect children and communicate with them about child abuse. The second target group, children and teens, need programs and activities geared to their ability to understand and act on safety and exploitation issues including child abuse. Education programs should help children develop skills to protect themselves against abuse. These programs may include other community efforts such as finger printing and neighborhood safe house programs.
Family Life Education
This is education focusing on enrichment programs that provide knowledge, social relationship skills and support throughout the family life cycle. The goal is to improve life management and family coping skills, enhance self-esteem, and improve communication skills and marital relationships. Family life education overlaps with spouse and child abuse prevention programming and is often shared with the chapel and other installation agencies.
Parent Education Program
This program involves education that is designed to enhance parenting and child management skills. Parent education and support groups may be combined to provide a forum for parents to exchange ideas, information and resources and to practice new behaviors. The program also may reinforce or teach basic skills in physical care, protection, supervision and psychological nurturing appropriate to a child’s age and stage of development.
Respite care is temporary child care for the purpose of relieving parental stress and to provide a nurturing and developmentally appropriate environment. Families may receive respite care when both Soldier and spouse attend parenting classes, counseling, support groups, or are experiencing stress from deployment related or family issues. Respite care will not be used in place of foster care or abandoned children. 706-545-7594 or 706-626-2614
A primary prevention program that provides emotional support, parenting education, referrals to community resources, and follow-up contact to parents with newborns. The program activities include screenings, information and referral, clinic and hospital visits, respite support and other services as needed. For additional information, contact the First Steps coordinator at 706-544-2020.
New Parent Support Program (NPSP)
The New Parent Support Program is a program offered to Army Families to enhance parent and infant attachment, increase knowledge of child development, and provide connections to the support services that allow parents to become nurturing and capable caregivers.
The NPSP staff consists of licensed social workers and registered nurses who provide in-home parenting education, support and resource linkage. Primary prevention (NPSP-Standard) targets all Families with children 3 years of age and younger. Priority will be given to first-time or single parents and dual military Families. Program entry may occur by self-referral or through a referral by a health professional or the Command. The program activities include screenings; information and referral; clinic and hospital visits; classes and childcare; support groups; respite support or other concrete services as needed; and play mornings. The duration of this phase of the program is 3 to 6 months. Secondary prevention (NPSP-Plus) targets parents at moderate to high risk. Program entry may occur by self referral or a referral by FAP, a health professional, or the command. Activities for this category includes: standardized risk assessment; periodic assessment during service delivery; intensive and comprehensive home visiting; provision of health and child development services; intensive role modeling and mentoring to change skills, respite support, and other concrete services as needed; and parent classes, play mornings, and groups.
What if I already have children?
You don’t have to be a new parent to participate. Army Families that are pregnant or with children through the age of 3 years are eligible for NPSP services. Family Advocacy offers classes to parents with children of all ages. Free child care is offered. Sign up two weeks prior to the class.
What can the NPSP do for me?
- Play Morning: An interactive playgroup to assist parents in learning developmentally appropriate play techniques and to help children improve their social, cognitive, and motor skills. Structured activities include singing and dancing, story time, a craft project and play time. We meet the first and third Thursday of each month from 11am to 12:30 in Building 9806. No registration required, but you must provide children’s immunization records. Please call 706-545-9358 or 706-626-2699.
- Expectant Parents Classes: These classes will help you get your pregnancy off to a good start. You will learn how to maintain a healthy lifestyle through exercise, proper nutrition and rest. You will learn to avoid certain behaviors during your pregnancy, and we will other provide valuable resources. We will also discuss what occurs during your prenatal visits and reason for various pregnancy tests. Sign up as soon as you know you are pregnant, so we can support you through the early physical and emotional changes. The classes are held the first Tuesdays of the month in the Baugh Conference Room at Martin Army Community Hospital. Please call 706-545-4041.
- Foster Care: A voluntary or court-mandated program for abused/neglected children that provides 24-hour care and supportive services in a Family home or group facility for children who cannot be cared for by their own Families and need substitute care. The Ft. Benning Family Advocacy Program has a Memorandum of Agreement with the Department of Family and Children Services to provide Foster Care. Families interested in becoming Foster Care parents may contact their local Department of Family and Children Services.
Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) Program
Sexual Assault Response Coordinator & Victim Advocate
Sexual Assault Response Coordinator & Victim Advocate:Sexual Assault Response Coordinators (SARCs) and Victim Advocates (VAs) are vital to the success of the SHARP Program in preventing sexual harassment and sexual assault. SARCs and VAs provide mandatory training to Soldiers, Command, and Department of the Army Civilians.SARCs and VAs provide well-coordinated and highly responsive advocacy 24 hours per day/7 days per week both in Garrison and deployed environments. SARCs and VAs ensure thatvictims are aware of the reporting options (Restricted and Unrestricted) and provide supportthrough the trauma of sexual harassment and/or sexual assault. Persons can reach a SARC orVA 24/7 via the Fort Benning SHARP HOTLINE: (706) 566-7393.
Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Preventions (SHARP) Program
SHARP provides crisis intervention and support services to victims of sexual assault, 24 hours per day, seven days a week. Trained victim advocates provide a helping hand through support, critical information and referrals for services on Fort Benning and in the community. Advocates assist survivors in determining what they wish to do and where to get help, whether they choose to report the assault or not. They accompany survivors to medical visits, court proceedings and other appointments as requested. The SAPRP also provides education and awareness trainings to active duty members, family members, military civilian and contract personnel on how to stay safe and what to do if assaulted. Unit level trainings requirements from AR-600-20
What is sexual harassment?
Sexual Harassment is a form of sex discrimination that involves unwelcome sexual advances,requests for sexual favors. Sexual harassment can be verbal, nonverbal, and physical conduct ofa sexual nature.
What is sexual assault?
Sexual assault is a crime defined as intentional sexual contact, characterized by use of force, physical threat or abuse of authority, or when the victim does not or cannot consent. Consent should not be deemed or construed to mean the failure by the victim to offer physical resistance. Consent is not given when a person uses force, threat of force, coercion or when the victim is asleep, incapacitated or unconscious. Sexual assault includes rape, nonconsensual sodomy (oral or anal sex), indecent assault (e.g., unwanted and inappropriate sexual contact or fondling), or attempts to commits these acts. Sexual assault can occur without regard to gender, spousal relationship or age of victim.
I have been sexually assaulted. What should I do?
Get to a safe location and seek medical care as soon as possible. Even if you do not have visible physical injuries, you may be at risk of becoming pregnant or acquiring a sexually transmitted disease. Do not wash, comb or clean any part of your body. Don’t eat, drink or change clothes. Contact a victim advocate, health care provider, chaplain or the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator.
Options for dealing with Sexual Harassment include:
- Direct Approach – Confront the harasser about the inappropriate behavior
- Indirect Approach – Send a letter to the harasser stating the facts and personal feelings about the inappropriate behavior
- Third Party – Request assistance from another person
- Chain of Command – Report the behavior to an immediate supervisor or others in the chain of command
- File an Informal or Formal Complaint
- call the Fort Benning SHARP Hotline: (706) 566-7393
What is the Reporting Procedure?
Soldiers: report incidents of Sexual Harassment to their respective SARC or VA.
Department of the Army Civilians: report incidents of Sexual Harassment to the Equal Employment Opportunity office. (706) 545-1872
What are the reporting options?
The Army affords Soldiers and Adult Family Member victims of sexual assault with two reporting options:
(HQDA EXORD 221-12 2012: Restricted report options were extended to Adult Dependent Family Members assaulted by someone other than a spouse or intimate partner.)
- Restricted: reporting allows a victim to confidentially disclose and report a sexual assault to a SARC, VA, Healthcare Provider or Chaplain. The victim will have access to medical treatment, including emergency care, counseling, and assignment of an advocate without triggering an official investigation.
- Unrestricted: reporting allows the aforementioned services in addition to initiating an official investigation of the allegation using all appropriate reporting channels. Military leaders must report sexual assaults to law enforcement.
Who can make a restricted report?
Restricted reporting is available to military personnel, active duty, Reserve and National Guard, provided they are performing federal duty and their adult dependent family members.
How can I reduce the risk of being sexually assaulted?
- Travel with a buddy.
- Stay in groups. There’s safety in numbers.
- Never leave a drink unattended. Educate yourself about date rape drugs.
- Stay sober. Studies indicate about half of all U.S. sexual assaults involve alcohol.
- Trust your instincts. If a situation feels unsafe, it probably is.
- Be assertive. State what you want clearly. Remember, NO means NO. If you do not want to be intimate with someone, speak clearly in a confident voice.
- Take a self defense class.
Sexual Assault Resources
Hours & Contact Information