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Reducing Domestic Abuse in the Military

Reducing Domestic Abuse in the Military:
Find an MFLC counselor near you

By: Rebecca Corley 

Between 2015 and 2019, more than 40,000 reported cases met the criteria for domestic abuse within the US military. In 2022, there were more than 15,000 reports of domestic abuse, however, these do not account for the incidents that go unreported. Labeled a public health crisis by the CDC, multiple studies on the reduction of domestic abuse have focused their recommendations on increasing prevention efforts and community support. 

Counselors can help:  

Through the DoD Military and Family Life Counseling Program (MFLC) military families can access licensed behavioral health counselors for outreach, non-medical counseling, psychoeducation, and support for the unique challenges of military life. Taking advantage of this service could help reduce the impact of domestic violence in the military. Magellan provides MFLC counselors worldwide who are trained to: 

  • Know the signs – Know the signs of domestic abuse, and be aware that not all signs are visible, particularly in cases of financial and emotional abuse.  
  • Share Available Resources – There are multiple resources and contacts for on-base, branch-specific, and community-based agencies, programs, and investigative services that are able to help a victim of domestic abuse such as MOS, FAP, National Domestic Abuse Hotline, YWCA, and other organizations. In addition, MFLC counselors share resources to support service members and families with risk factors for domestic abuse such as food insecurity, high deployment stress, and social isolation can potentially prevent domestic abuse before it starts.  
  • Impart Healthy Relationship Skills – In a 2022 report to the DoD, the RAND corporation recommended teaching “safe and healthy relationship skills” as an effective domestic abuse prevention strategy in the military. MFLC counselors prevent domestic abuse by supporting service and family members in building communication, problem-solving, and conflict resolution skills, and offering couples the Arammu Relationship Checkup when appropriate. when appropriate.  
  • Follow the Protocols – As mandated reporters, accurately following all duty to warn/mandatory reporting protocols is crucial in stopping domestic abuse. MFLCs understand the reasons why a victim may not want to make a report or start an investigation and treat each case uniquely and confidentially. 

If you or someone you know may be a victim of military domestic violence, you are encouraged to take action. Contact your installation’s Military and Family Support Center. 

If you are in immediate crisis, call the Military Crisis Line at 800-273-8255, and press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255. 

You can get personalized help 365 days a year by telephone and online. 

About the Author

Rebecca Corley

Rebecca Corley, LMHC, is a behavioral health counselor for the DoD’s Military Family Life Counseling Program. Rebecca is passionate about helping military personnel and their families through the challenges of military life, after personally seeing the struggles of her friends and loved ones in the military. With a background in trauma and substance use disorders, Rebecca has experience working with survivors of sexual assault, intimate partner violence, abuse/neglect, and co-morbid disorders. When not working as a military and family counselor, Rebecca loves horseback riding, going to the rodeo, eating good food, building Legos, spending time with her family, and spoiling her daughter.