Skip to main content

tv   Hearing on Militarys Response to Domestic Violence  CSPAN  June 15, 2021 8:14am-10:01am EDT

8:14 am
10 a.m. two earrings on c-span3. first, the senate judiciary committee takes up a house passed immigration reform bill. at two p.m. the house oversight committee continues its probe into the january 6 attack on the u.s. capitol. >> house lawmakers examine the issue of domestic violence and how the military response to and prosecute prosecutes cases. a house armed services subcommittee heard from military and defense department officials, a domestic violence survivor and the head of an ethics is group for victims. this runs an hour and 45 minutes. >> subcommittee, we are now going to bring this committee hearing to order. i want to welcome everyone. this is going to be a completely virtual hearing, and we have a very important topic to talk about today. first, let me welcome our new ranking member to the committee, congressman mike gallagher.
8:15 am
he has completed four years in the house of representatives. previously he was a u.s. marine captain, , served seven yearse n the marine corps and was deployed twice to iraq. he also has the distinction of being the fastest man -- [inaudible] i'm not going to challenge -- [inaudible] we are going to talk about a very, very important, serious and troubling topic today. it is the military prevention and response to domestic violence. the startling statistics according too the cdc suggests one in w four women and one in seven then what experience what is called quote severe physical violence in their lifetime. that's 25% of women in this
8:16 am
country who will be battered and bruised, strangled and stabbed, shot and maybesh even killed. it is a a scourge we must pult of the shadows because we know if it is 25% women who are victims of severe physical violence, so, too, are the women that make up our military and military family. the first step in curing any illness is to find the problem, and for over 20 as congress has askedas the department of defene to do just that but it has not done it. the problem remains undefined. in fact, earlier this month the gao released a study that found that despite a statutory requirement since 1999, dod has not collected comprehensive data on the number of allegations of domestic violence, a subcategory different types ofif domestic abuse that constitute offenses under the uniform code of
8:17 am
military justice and related actions taken by commanders. and even though we know the data is it enacted come we know over 40,000 incidents met dod criteria for domestic abuse between 2015-2019, and that 74% of these incidents where physical abuse. never counted by the department and how many were never reported for more than 20 years, no one can say. according to the dod annual report on child abuse and neglect and domestic abuse in the military, most of the perpetrators and victims are our most junior servicemembers themselves. they are the young, inexperienced, away from home isolated from the family and friends and in many cases struggling financially.
8:18 am
it's exacerbated the structures. it's too easy to hide behind the facts and figures. i want to be very clear about what physical abuse is. according to the national domestic violence hotline, it's an intimate partner or spouse who pulls your hair or punches or slips or kicks or bites, chokes or smothers you. it is a person that forbids or prevents you from eating or sleeping and uses weapons against you including firearms and knives and prevents you from contacting emergency services including medical attention or the law department, who harms your children, pets, drives recklessly or dangerously while you are in the car or abandons you in an unfamiliar place. who traps you in your home or prevents you from leaving and throws objects at you or prevents you from taking
8:19 am
prescribed medications or denies you necessary medical treatment. that is physical abuse. there is also emotional and verbal abuse, financial abuse, sexual assault and reproductive coercion. to put a human face in this epidemic as amy logan has agreed to tell her story, her testimony is riveting and exposes all the flaws in the military's handling of domestic violence. it also reminds all of us that there is a mother, father, sister, brother and child behind those incidences of domestic abuse recorded by the dod. we can no longer ignore this. the sanctity and well-being of our servicemembers and their families is at risk. so, the dod and the services the question is what are you doing
8:20 am
about it. how are you addressing the short falls, how are you educating the servicemembers and families about the resources that we have. how do they know who to call to get help. in fy 21 the subcommittee provision established a review included to provide congress with additional findings and recommendations to address intimate partner violence. however, specifically pointing out last congress a provision that i offered that created a military protective order that was forcible across the jurisdiction was unnecessarily.
8:21 am
witnesses today testify why court orders are necessary. ranking member gallagher, i recognize you for your opening remarks. >> thank you so much. it is an honor to join the subcommittee, and i look forward to working together. the hearing addresses an issue of supreme importance, domestic violence which i think we could all agree has absolutely no place in our military and i want to welcome the panel to the hearing and i want to thank ms. logan for being a volunteer. i can't express how grateful i am for the courage and willingness to tell your story. as a former marine corps officer i had to deal with issues involving domestic violence and i found it important to discuss. it includes four types of
8:22 am
appalling behavior. speaking of the magnitude of the problem the latest statistics indicate that about one and four women and nearly one in seven men have experienced sexual violence, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime and reported some form of related impact. in my home state of demand. in the military the fiscal year 2020 report on child abuse and neglect and domestic abuse in the military show the rate of
8:23 am
both types of incidents of decreased over the past ten years but the numbers overall are still very concerning. additionally, unmarried partner abuse increased in an alarming rate. there were also six fatalities in fy 2020 we also need to commit to the families and provide them the resources they need to get to these difficult situations but this is part of the issue with domestic violence and the other is to prevent it from ever occurring in the first place. prevention is what i want to understand and the servicemembers on the second panel in particular, what are we doing and how are we getting after the districts. i also want to learn about any
8:24 am
initiatives i look forward to hearing from the witness that is a survivor of domestic violence and understand your experiences. each will provide a written opening statement and have an opportunity.
8:25 am
[inaudible] [inaudible] let me say before you make your opening statement how strong you were then and are now and how you exposed these gaping holes in the system. [inaudible] >> thank you, madam chair. i would start by thanking the committee for the work you are doing around such a difficult and important issue.
8:26 am
my hope is that in hearing the testimony the committee considers how the military handles the recourse of domestic violence. towards the end of the military career and we always lived off base. two years into our relationship i realized i was in an emotionally abusive marriage. three years into the marriage, things turned physical. shortly after moving to a new city i was a stay-at-home mom with no family nearby and not a lot of money. one night my ex-husband charged at me grabbing my shoulders and distract me in the leg. that night he shattered and damaged my cell phone leaving holes and dents on the floor from the impact and he told me i
8:27 am
would rather go to prison than let you leave with my child. i took this as a verbal threat to my life. the police arrived after receiving a disturbance call and he charmed the police officer into believing i broke my cell phone and we just had an argument. the next day i went to the local magistrate office and was told what they saw on the police report i would more than likely not be granted a restraining order. a few days after this incident i went with our child to a shelter while my ex-husband was at work. my ex-husband tracked my location and came to the shelter. the police came, gave him a warning and he was asked to leave. through this whole process, the police were called three times regarding my ex-husband and it is my understanding that the local army base was never notified. during our divorce process, the brigade military and family life counselor who worked attended every court hearing we had and
8:28 am
testified on behalf of my ex-husband at our divorce hearing. this was the third person in the military that heard of the physical abuse and higher command but was still not notified of the situation. it wasn't until my divorce hearing after gaining knowledge of the history of the potential abuse my ex-husband had done to other individuals that i gained the strength to come forward to the military. i went to the family advocate office and shared all that had happened. i requested to receive a military protection order and i was not granted one. the case review committee met and did determine that my case met the criteria for emotional and physical abuse. the colonel that led to the committee was my ex-husband's brigade commander and his command partner. it's my understanding that the colonel didn't feel my ex-husband needed any treatment and that my ex-husband stayed in his command the whole time. after the ruling i filed a report with the inspector
8:29 am
general's office regarding how the colonel handled my case as well as the action. i remember one individual telling me it is our job to make sure this doesn't end up on cnn. the department determined that the chain of command could address the matters. i was shocked. the department took my complaint straight to the person my complaint was against. i proceeded to file an inquiry for my concerns. during this the command general started an investigation. i believe some changes were made, however, i do not know the full outcome. throughout all of these military investigations, i felt they questioned the validity of my complaints based on what i did not do instead of what was done to me. individuals in the military responsible for the decisions regarding domestic abuse need to learn more about abuse. it is rarely ever an isolated incident.
8:30 am
it's rare that just won a form f abuse is being used. they need to understand that fear keeps you trapped and isolated. you experience what someone can do to you and you constantly lay in a state of fear. this plays a part in every decision that a victim does or does not make. i have a few suggestions for the committee to consider. commanders and colonels who directly work with someone accused should not oversee any investigation or committees regarding the issue. any treatment plan investigation or a committee needs to include both talking to the alleged abuser and the alleged victim. when the departments communicate with the military staff, i recommend someone be present who can explain the process. commanders, colonels and military personnel need to
8:31 am
properly report all allegations and conduct proper investigations. my story is not just my story. it represents the stories of victims and survivors that were too afraid to come forward. it represents individuals that work with victims in the military who feel that they are constantly hitting roadblocks. i hope today this testimony can be a voice for them. i thank the committee for your time. >> thank you again, ms. logan. again, remarkable testimony.
8:32 am
thank you for the opportunity to testify. i am the codirector of applied research for [inaudible] a national nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting military and veteran families. we nationally recognized for our family lifestyle that covers a wide variety of topics that impact the military and veteran families. today i'm here to share with you with the previous surveys have revealed about partner violence. reported being hit, kicked, punched. however as mentioned the physical violence is not the only, but the most obvious. perhaps more [inaudible]
8:33 am
reported they didn't feel safe in their current relationship. this is a potential warning signs of abuse. finally in our survey approximately 2% of those reported they had experienced violence in the past year. these are gathered by the department of defense in 2019 and this reported incidences of abuse at about 1.1%. this seems small but it's twice that of a population at a 0.42%. many factors endemic to the military lifestyle are at a greater risk of experiencing including economic vulnerability, social isolation, mental health concerns and military. i will say a few words about this. it is uniquely vulnerable to economic abuse wherein abusive partners use their financial power to control behavior and because of that limited to child care and service members demand they face significant challenges with employment. the rate is many times that of
8:34 am
similar civilian and those that are employed, two thirds in the 2020 survey indicated that they were underemployed. [inaudible] another risk factor is social isolation. on average once every two to three years. it reported that the pandemic
8:35 am
with mandatory quarantine may have incentivized this. a third risk factors are the mental health issues that have also been repeatedly linked while certainly the prevalence in the military may decrease the incidences. in our 2020 survey, the service members and 7% responded they had a current diagnosis of ptsd. finally, they felt they contributed. it was essential and predominantly masculine culture. any plan to reduce must address underlying factors that make families vulnerable and therefore must speak to empower financially, eliminate and combat social isolation. they must collectively work to address including the lack of
8:36 am
affordable childcare, the unpredictability of demand eliminating in the military will require systemic cultural reform. we therefore encourage congress to implement the recommendations made by the independent review committee who in these instances of sexual harassment and gender discrimination across the services. finally, to combat social isolation congress ought to work with the military support organizations to bolster active-duty military families members. i would again like to thank the distinguished members of the subcommittee for their efforts to address this deeply troubling issue. it is a crime and it's neither a nor or accessible byproduct of the military lifestyle.
8:37 am
thank you. your data was very telling [inaudible] recently issued reports on domestic abuse and response in the military. domestic abuse can result in devastating personal consequences and is a significant public health issue that causes substantial societal cause. the dod stated that the abuse is incompatible with military values and reduces the mission readiness. my written statement today summarizes the reports issued earlier this month on domestic abuse in the military, which included 32 recommendations to the deity. the dod concurred with each of
8:38 am
the recommendations. my statements focused on some of the findings in that report. let me briefly summarize it. my statement is divided into parts. first addresses the extent the dod has met statutory requirements to collect and report data on the reports of domestic abuse. the dod met a statutory requirement to collect the report data for incidences that met its criteria for domestic abuse. but as noted earlier by the chair, it hasn't collected a report for the number and type of all allegations and as a result it's been unable to assess the scope of the alleged abuse and the right of substantiation to address the challenges, we recommend that the dod clarify its guidance before submitting the data and develop a quality control process to ensure complete and accurate data and allegations of
8:39 am
abuse. in addition we found that while there've been statutory crimes since 1999, the dod hasn't collected comprehensive data on allegations of domestic violence and a subset of domestic abuse that constitutes criminal offenses under the uniform code of military and related actions taken by commanders. since 2015, dod has made an effort to aggregate the data at the department level. however, the data collected by the dod doesn't cover the full scope of acts that may be considered domestic violence. further nearly half of the non-pending command actions were categorized with others making it impossible to note if these were unfounded or if the incidences were not prosecuted for other reasons. to address the challenges we recommend that we evaluate and if needed clarify or adjust the
8:40 am
responsibilities for tracking domestic violence allegations and related command action. the second part of my statement addresses the extent that the military services have implemented and have overseen with domestic abuse, prevention and response activities. we found the gaps in the key areas including creating awareness of domestic abuse reporting options and resources, allegation screening, systemic risk assessment and the position of incidences. for example, we found that the military services performed limited oversight of commanders disposition of domestic violence incidences occurred to as command action. these command actions can have significant implications for victims and alleged abusers. for example, a commanders decision to pursue a court-martial, nonjudicial punishment administrative action or no action can impact the
8:41 am
victim's eligibility for transitional compensation benefits and whether the alleged abusers are subject to the amendment restricting firearm possession. currently, the uniform military justice authorizes to return for nonsexual domestic violence situations and the dod told us that as of november 2020, officials that were not aware of any initiative in the dod to study the risk associated in the current disposition model or the feasibility of the potential alternative. performing such an assessment could provide the department and the military services with a better understanding of such risks and insulting the potential impacts. as a result, new york recommended that the dod express the potential risk associated in the current disposition model were and the feasibility of the potential alternative that might
8:42 am
respond to such risk. madam chair, that concludes my statements. >> now we have the opportunity to ask questions of our candidates. let me start by asking it appears based on the testimony that is that an accurate statement? >> it cut up a little bit in the question. can you repeat that, please?
8:43 am
>> of course. based on your testimony it appears [inaudible] -- any kind of resource therefore you [inaudible] >> i believe your question is with regards to the resources that were shared with me and what resources i used, is that correct? >> yes. >> okay. i'm sorry. i couldn't hear you. living off base and only hearing what my ex spouse of the military, i didn't know of resources. at that time i didn't know that i could go to the family advocacy office. it wasn't until actually the
8:44 am
counselor my ex-husband agreed to go to when she reached out to the families advocacy because she was concerned for my safety, one day it got to me and i became familiar with that resource. my ex-husband's command didn't share that resource with me. i didn't know many resources outside of that and when i did decide to bring things forward, what i knew of my family advocate advisor they were a great resource and i will say she was a great resource but outside of that, i wasn't offered any other resources. [inaudible]
8:45 am
>> he had been in the military he had been in the military for quite some time. i met him when he was going into e9. [inaudible] >> around the time of our divorce, i was able to connect with some of the previous relationships, and they share their testimony with me.
8:46 am
i found each of them had experienced alleged abuse by my husband. they each shared that they were too afraid to bring things forward to the military. we all were told that he could lose his job, his right to carry, he could lose everything. and missus strong shared you don't have a job, you don't know what you're going to do, so you are a bit afraid of bringing things forward because of that fear that they could lose their job and you would lose your support. at the same time i believe one did mention to a higher command.
8:47 am
they didn't take it seriously. >> [inaudible] madam chair, i think we might have lost you. is anyone else hearing the chairwoman's audio? >> i cannot hear the audio. >> okay. so, staff could you alert the chairwoman? >> she's back. >> i've moved now to a secure location. thank you, ms. logan.
8:48 am
we will now move to the ranking member gallagher. >> thank you for sharing your story and the courage that that takes. do you think our local installation commanders should engage the local community to better understand the resources that might be available and my did that have helped in your case or other cases? >> i think there can be better communication between the resources and military resources. in the civilian lives when i brought things forward i don't think the resources were shared with me because one of the police officers didn't fully believe my incident. but, yes, i think there could be better communication between the two. >> and in your testimony you
8:49 am
indicated you didn't file charges with domestic abuse immediately after the incident. based on what you know now, how did you advise the victims in a similar situation? >> i would advise to do so. i think initially as i share they were very scared and very scared of how they might react. i wasn't sure that i could file charges of that. it wasn't sold to me by the civilian police officers or my lawyer at the beginning. so, i would advise to do so because from my experience and questions, why didn't you, why didn't you. >> thank you. thank you for your testimony. a number of the recommendations in the report on domestic abuse indicated you eluted in the
8:50 am
testimony that there were significant issues with the data in terms of reporting, collection, tracking, standardization, quality control. as we sift through all of the recommendations in your opinion, what should be the first action, the priority action the dod takes to fix these issues? >> thank you for that question. there is much work for the dod to do and we hope that of the report is a roadmap to correct the deficiencies that we are putting out. but i think that if you try to characterize solutions for the issues related to the data, they basically fall into two categories. guidance and accountability. as we noted, we don't know the full scope of all the allegations and the type of allegations and domestic abuse in the military because they tap
8:51 am
the allegations. the services count each allegation clarifying the guidance to make sure you know what you want to collect and in the case of domestic violence, putting someone in charge that can work across boundaries to obtain the information on domestic violence because that data does exist on domestic violence, it just hasn't been going to the right office to manage it. >> that is very helpful. in the comment i have left are you aware of any programs in the civilian community that are
8:52 am
comparable to the domestic violence program that can be used perhaps as a benchmark for success and gold standards that we might emulate? >> that is an excellent question. i'm not aware of any gold standard programs. i know that there are many to support victims of domestic violence and partner violence, but i am not aware of any in particular that should be held. >> i appreciate it and i yield back my remaining seconds. >> i thank the gentleman. ms. chrissy houlahan is recognized. >> i also want to thank you all for coming today. this brought me back to having a
8:53 am
military mom losing a lot and then under and enormous amount of stress. [inaudible] all these kinds of things that brought back difficult memories. i want to associate myself with of the remarks for best practices and standards of other industries and environments that are similar. is there anything we need to wrap our brains around for isolating is a perfect world as it is to be alone and moving to a new environment separated by the family. i will put that aside. my question, however, in the
8:54 am
testimony you talked about kind of the idea and the correlation. i want to make sure that we acknowledge that that is an issue that is increasingly having more and more members. beyond the acknowledgment is there anything else we can do about kind of changing the culture that involves? >> thank you for the question. i appreciated the attention you are bringing and i do think that that is going to prevent violence and any number of other issues that is one of the places we have to start.
8:55 am
it's a great place to start. they have a lot of good recommendations to implement across. also i would suggest looking at ways to find support for those if there is a place to go. if the service member is a person perpetrating then you will not be getting that information but that is a good place to start. >> welcome. i also want to add my support to try to find a way to harmonize data in any way that we can across the dod to make sure we
8:56 am
are standardizing the data. i was fortunate enough to be at fort hood with an awareness that outside of the base they need to be better communicating to talk about things like soldiers that are awol and wondering what the analog is so we are communicating across the baselines. are we talking in terms of the data or more about the coordinated response? >> the data is an aggravation of a lot of individuals for the law enforcement and spouses of
8:57 am
military families and that's one thing but also the aggregate for the fort hood throwing information over the wall and wondering what happened to it after would be the same kind of concern with this information as well. >> there needs to be better military civilian coordination. it is known that it is an effort on both sides in the prevention and response and there are numerous examples along the lines that we are talking about especially with protective orders that has come out earlier. that is something that should be corrected with the services and the army, the navy and air force
8:58 am
putting in the regulations as it is required across the process to punish violators both military and civilian. to date only the marine corps has done that, so that is a big gap and because those regulations do not define the responsibility for prosecuting those that have violated those military and civilian orders, some spouses or intimate were intimatepartners wouldn't t going to the military for help when there had been a violation of that work. there is much more but i know you have other questions. >> thank you, madam chair. >> the gentle lease time is expired. for clarification purposes, you have made recommendations to the department as a result of the report. have they responded yet? >> they will provide a report
8:59 am
before it is publicly issued and they did agree with all of the recommendations and we will continue to monitor those recommendations as you know to understand they do take action. >> thank you. ms. bice you are recognized. >> thank you for hosting today's important hearing and to the witnesses for being here today. domestic abuse and violence impacts far too many americans and estimates many will experience a form of the mystic violence in their lifetime and i think it is imperative that we diligently work to address this issue to ensure the policies and the programs are in place to prevent this from occurring and to rapidly address. my first question you mentioned in your testimony that you had an advocate that helped guide
9:00 am
you after you started the process. do you believe appointing an advocate early on to have a spouse in a domestic violence or domestic abuse situation would be helpful to maybe someone independent of the military? >> what helped me is that she had also experienced domestic abuse and was familiar so her knowledge of both avenues was very beneficial for me because i did not know a lot of the protocol and resources so yes, i >> so, yes, i do believe that that would be a benefit. and do you think it may be a great sort of assistant for those victims? >> yes, that what i came across, it was either somebody that knew the military or knew about it and didn't know, the
9:01 am
more you can know about those could help find the solutions and the gap and knowing that history of abuse, knowing what the signs are and what the red flags are to maybe try to bring it to light earlier before it happens. >> thank you for that. doctor, you mentioned in your testimony that there is a connection with domestic abuse aviolence and my question to you, maybe a little bit of conjecture. do you believe that we're addressing the ptds so that we don't see the assault on the back end? >> the question, thank you. all that is being done of ptsd and other mental health issues.
9:02 am
it's not just ptsd, but abuse and addressing stigma for those issues, but also providing resources so that these substance abuse, mental health underlying disorders can be addressed before something extends into domestic violence. thank you for the question. >> and then my last question is really for any of you. could you share your perspective on whether the dod is doing enough to protect children in households where domestic or partners, i think that children are behind the scene and not a crucial piece. what can we be doing to make sure that children are being protected as well?
9:03 am
>> i'll go first. can you hear me? we actually issued a report related to this topic on child abuse, not -- i think you're talking about children whose parents could be abused, but last year we did issue a report looking at military children who were victims of child abuse and found many of the similar findings that we were talking about today, connected with the framework to manage these. like the incident determination committee at the level where they first get an incident, they determine if it should be counted as child abuse, just the same as they would look at domestic abuse to see if they should be counted and we found problems with that structure, that committee last year and made recommendations about the
9:04 am
composition of that committee. and we thought medical personnel should be included to make sure that it's victim needed medical services, that those would be rendered. so, we had a host of recommendations and that recorded well to address that issue, but there is definitely some overlap about protection of the children, whether they're in the household, experiencing this with the other family members or they're a victim themselves. >> thank you, madam chair, i'll yield back. >> the gentle lady's time expired. the gentle lady from texas is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you so much, madam chair, and i want to express my gratitude to our chairwoman for having such an important hearing and to our panelists
9:05 am
nor for sharing this critical information, information, frankly, that confirms what so many of us know and understand about the failures that exist within the military organization. ms. logan, i'd like to start my questions with you and i want to thank you for sharing your painful experiences with this committee and as well as with the public that is watching at home. i represent a congressional district home to fort bliss, one of the largest military installations in the united states so i know from having spoken with constituents and as well with service members that this is a problem everywhere, including here at our military installation. but ms. logan, you know, one of the things that you mentioned that i'd like to focus on a little bit. you mentioned survivors and what they had heard back and i wrote down that what they heard
9:06 am
back was the fears around losing the spouse losing a job, or their career essentially being over if abuse was reported and, you know, obviously it has to get reportedment-- reported. we don't want to -- we want to try to address it as quickly as possible. do you think if folks on military installations, if support was available to you, if there had been intervention with your husband, do you think that could have helped address the abuse situation? is this something that we can do or the dod can do the at front end that tries to help mitigate not just the an i busse, but things spiraling out of control? >> thank you for your question. and i apologize, going on. it's a difficult question to
9:07 am
answer. my understanding is research with individuals to our abuses, it's such a small percentage that actually change, so it's very hard to say that if they were to come in and intercede and try to bring forth some treatment, it's hard to say that that could potentially slow down or stop other incidences after the fact. he think knowledge to know that there is protection that can be offered for people to come forward, we live in such a state of not wanting to do anything to make them upset, that coming forward is just one, another thing that would. so to know that there is some protection offered to keep you safe in coming forward, i don't know how to get that to the
9:08 am
victims. that's a difficult request he, but i think it's important that there is stuff in place to protect them in moving forward. >> i appreciate that. you make a very valid point. one of the other areas of concern is that 70% of married active duty service members live off installations making it very easy for them to feel isolated from resources and jo and outreach programs. obviously, you did not have-- you weren't provided with the kind of support and programs that you needed. what can we do for families to live off of installations toen sure that you do have access to that information about resources that can protect you, to keep you and your children safe? >> that's a great question and one that i have thought over and over to try to come up with an answer to myself because i know there's programs there. i know the information is there.
9:09 am
i know we can't always go to the, you know, open houses that they can have to welcome people to an installation. i don't know of the home that can get lost. i apologize. i don't have a clear answer. it's something that i continue to think about on an ongoing basis because there needs to be a solution. but i don't have that clear answer as to how yet and i apologize. >> no, no apology. we've got to figure this out for you. dr., i think i saw your hand go up. did you want to respond to that? >> i would love that. thank you very much for the opportunity. >> do it in 30 seconds. >> i'll be as quick as i can. i think one of the keys is building connections in the community. when we ask in our survey where you go to help, people don't go to resources they go to their family and friends, their local
9:10 am
connections. we need to build the connections in the communities that they live in so that they can go to a neighbor and say, i'm having this issue, what do i do? the neighbors, friends, the local resources. >> thank you, madam chair, i yield back. >> of course. ms. logan, have you ever required to provide your e-mail address to the installation, to the command? >> i don't remember. i apologize. i know -- i'm assuming they had when i got my spousal, the i.d. i'm trying to recall. i don't remember. i know i would command and it would be at certain function, and did not like going to the functions so we didn't always go to every function. >> all right. >> i was an invited guest.
9:11 am
>> i think that's part of the solution that the pows, that their e-mail is provided so that the family advocacy program can actually, you know, provide information to them whether they need it or not. all right, mr. fallen is rec nieced for five minutes. i see you're camera is on. you are awol. all right. is mr. jackson available? mr. jackson? all right, we'll return to them when they are available. ms. strickland is next. ms. strickland?
9:12 am
i think you're muted. he does not have questions. ms. strickland. >> madam chair, i don't see her. >> she was here earlier. >> you're next for five minutes. >> thank you, madam chair. i wanted to ask dr. strong specifically about just how the military handles, you know, incidents as they occur on a single basis. on a personal story, i remember years ago, i was about 20, 21 years old at a friend's house and we all had to leave the house because the mom had a friend coming over and the friend was in some kind of distress as as to what was happening. she said well, her husband is a
9:13 am
police officer and he beats her up really badly and when he -- and whenever she calls the police, they come offense and say, we're going to walk around the corner so he can cool off. and when we were at fort hood recently, i was at fort hood a couple of weeks ago and unone of the m p's that we spoke to said something that reminded me of that day. now police departments don't routinely do that. i'm not saying it never happens, but now even if the person doesn't want to press charges if they see there's evidence of domestic abuse, somebody's going to jail. and so when the mp told us that often times he had to tell people, hey, you know, why don't we -- why don't we cool off or there's a cooling off period, it really kind of surprised me. how prevalent is, you know, is
9:14 am
it to have people say, you know, we're just -- you just need to cool off? and if the -- if the person that is being abused doesn't want to cooperate, what are the protocols put in place for the military to still act, enooh if the-- even if there's no cooperation like sometimes can happen in the civilian world? >> thank you for that question. i'm afraid i don't have the answer to that. i don't know that for law enforcement-- >> do you have any -- yes, i would love to hear if ms. farrell has a response to that. >> you're muted. >> i could address part of it. i don't know the protocol as it
9:15 am
comes through the law enforcement, except, once law enforcement, including the m p's are aware of it, that should trigger sometime of investigation, even if the investigation doesn't go anywhere, but the first step is that it should be reported to the family advocacy program at the installation level and sometimes at the installation level. it's coming from law enforcement. sometimes it's coming from the command, there's different avenues. it's at that screening that often we found incidents are being screened out inappropriately. that that initial screening says at that all incidents should go forward to the incident determination committee unless there's no possibility that the incident meets the dod criteria. it's basic at that stage, but we found incidents where they were acknowledging that if they
9:16 am
felt there had been no impact to the victim, they did not move that incident forward to the committee. if they felt that there was pushing and shoving and it could have been self-defense, they did not move it forward. and both of those instances, the incidents, the determination committee is supposed to determine that. so there -- it shouldn't be recorded regardless of whether it's the mp that's witnessing it or some other person that's withdraw enforcement. i hope that-- >> even if the person is not cooperating, you're saying there should still be something? >> yes. >> okay. that's another situation with the screening often the people at the installation level says the individual recanted so there was nothing to it, but it still should go forward to that instant determination committee. >> thank you. >> madam chair, i yield back.
9:17 am
>> the gentleman yields back. we can do a brief second round if anyone has additional questions they would like to ask of the panel. >> doesn't appear to be. i have one last question. ms. farrell, you talked about the incident review committee. it sounds like from what i've read that they're not being instituted appropriately or at all. is that correct? >> the incident determination committee is an algorithm that's acquired wii dod for years. the army has not fully implemented. so there could be inconsistencies or outcomes or treatments that are provided to the victims, for example, because of that inconsistency
9:18 am
right now with the army lagging behind the others. >> all right. and finally, you indicated that 50% of the incidents are reflected as other. that would mean about half of these cases are subject to mp or some other form of review or penalty? or-- >> no, it's actually 43% and so 7,000 cases that have been decided, we don't know the category. it's so broad, it could be that the command did not think the evidence was there. it could be it's not the right jurisdiction. it could be death. it could be a variety of reasons why there was no action taken. our point is you don't know which ones were unfounded by the command and other reasons. there is a category for court martials and nonjudicial punishments and action.
9:19 am
>> the other category is what we really just don't know what it is. >> that's correct. it's so broad and that's usually limited oversight because the percentage is so high. obviously, there's going to be some in that category, but we wish she'd had more information in order to actually understand the command action. >> right. thank you. i see that mr. kim has joined us. do you have any questions you'd like to ask the first panel? >> no questions at this point, chairwoman. >> all right, thank you. i want to thank our panelists, you've been generous with your time and testimony and compelling. so very much appreciate all of your information that you've provided. if you have additional thoughts you want to share with us, please feel free to contact us. we're certainly going to incorporate much of your recommendations as we consider the ndaa this year. so thank you again.
9:20 am
well, now transfer to our next panel and the members of our next panel include miss patricia baron, who is the deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy. colonel steve lewis, family advocacy program manager of the army. colonel andrew cruz, the chief air force family advocacy program at the air force. crystal griffin, the deputy director of family support at united states navy and miss lisa adono, who is the assistant head of prevention and clinical services at the u.s. marine corps. welcome all of you. we will begin with your testimony, ms. baron.
9:21 am
ms. baron, are you with us? >> it's on. can you hear me now? >> we can hear you now, yes, thank you. >> thank you, chairwoman speer, we thank you for your support of the service members and families and we appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the department's efforts in addressing this within the military community. collectively we represent many family advocacy programs across the department of defense who work tirelessly every day to support our service members and their families to keep them safe and resilient. you've introduced my panel so i won't take up time there, but i want to say to the witnesses on the previous panel and especially to ms. logan, please know that we appreciate this opportunity to hear from you firsthand and we will take your
9:22 am
stories, your recommendations, and personal experiences back to our respective teams to inform our important work. so thank you so much again. the department of defense is committed to enhancing the welfare and welcome being of our service members and their families, responding to domestic abuse and serious harm to our childrens, as well as it being the very right thing to do, it's imperative to the readiness, wellness and resilience of our force. as a 30-year military spouse, a registered nurse working in the community mental health field, a lifelog advocate for service members and their families and a parent of a former female soldier, who is now a military spouse herself, i consider this the utmost importance to the department. i've seen a tremendous negative impacts that when they're not properly presented and treated. i believe my breadth of experience and close collaboration of services and our service colleagues will help bring a balanced approach and renewed energy to
9:23 am
addressing this issue. i do know i speak for all of us today when i say that we are fully committed to serving our service members and families in this regard. we've made some good progress and positive strides from the last time we appeared before the committee. i acknowledge there's more work to be done. we've focused on upstream prevention and evidence-informed strategies and approaches recommended by the centers for disease control and focus on oversight. we have been working hard on standardizing practices and proceeds and wholeheartedly support the conclusions reached in the gao report and the department concurs with all 32 recommendations, with the secretary of defense and individual services. again, we appreciate this opportunity to speak with you today on these issues and others, within the family advocacy portfolio and before i close, i know i speak for my colleagues when i say thank you to the members of the first panel for advocacy and for
9:24 am
sharing their pre inspect tiff experiences and ms. logan especially you to have the courage to come forward and share your story. it will help us as we move forward. thank you again, we stand ready for your comments and questions. >> all right. thank you, ms. barron. you've spoke on behalf of the services, we'll go to the questions. let me ask you, despite being a statutory requirement for decades, can you explain why we still don't have an accurate picture from do did. for the domestic incidents. what does the dod need to get this done so we can have a complete picture. if you can respond to that in minute, please? >> it's a great question, ma'am. i received a briefing on this subject when i here in january 20 of 2021. i'm personally making sure this
9:25 am
gets to fruition. we've started on some procedures that we need in order to get this done and we'd be happy to inform your staff a little bit later. >> all right. we're going to stay on this. because we need to have complete data and we're going to require another meeting with you, maybe a briefing format in the next couple of months. this is really unacceptable. >> yes, ma'am. >> colonel lewis, the army is the only with the process that's required by law and that all the other services adopted in 2014. the army continues to ask dod for extensions. i find that totally unacceptable. what are you doing about it? please unmute yourself. >> thank you, madam chairwoman. yes, the army is the service behind for the incident determination made.
9:26 am
however, i want to say prior to the policy being published, we asked for and received a policy to do a comprehensive study of the committee. >> colonel, we're not interested in more studies. we want you to set up-- this is required by law. you should be setting up this incident determination committee. it should be populated as is required by law by medical professionals and by others within the service and it's not acceptable to do another study. >> yes, thank you, madam chairwoman. the study was completed and we have extracted our policy and it's now sitting with senior leaders awaiting final approval and we have a fully resourced implementation plan and we provide dod updates on the implementcation plan. so, we're ready to launch our
9:27 am
implementation, the transition to remaining installations, we did launch the incident determination committee at 10 installations which have the majority, 20% by the incident determination committee when we did the pilot study. >> all right, i'd like to ask each of the service toss weigh in on this question. the gao report, indicated incidents between 2015 and 2019 met the criteria for severe, i underline severe abuse. in 23% of the cases, command took no action against the abuser. installation officials tell that in some cases commanders looked the other way because they're too focused on how they will affect the abuser's career and operational need and not the victim's need or the need to hold the abuser accountable. there's a conflict of interest
9:28 am
that we've seen for years in the sexual assault area. if lower levels commanders are conflicted and unwilling to take action in those who engage in severe physical abuse, why shouldn't it be elevated to 06 or higher? can i have your response, colonel lewis? >> yes, thank you, madam chairwoman. we acknowledge the findings of the gao and we look forward to working with dod in reviewing that, but it's premature to bring forward policy recommendations without having reviewed that with our senior leaders. >> you did not answer the question. are you not alarmed that 43% of these cases that no action was taken and met the definition of severe physical abuse? there's no need to answer that. ms. griffin, you're recognized. your response? >> yes, thank you chairwoman
9:29 am
speier. we basically, this is outside of our area of responsibility, but we would like to take the information to our proper navy leadership for an action. >> well, i guess then, the question to ms. barron, why would you have someone here at this hearing since you can't respond to that question? >> ms. barron? my time is expiring and i want to hear from the marine corps and colonel cruz. >> yes, ma'am. thank you, chairwoman, this is lisa from the marine corps. i'd like to thank ms. logan for sharing your primary testimony. the best is prevention and response which includes
9:30 am
advocacy. it does not make recommendations to the commander on how they hold a service member accountable, so as far as that portion, i'd have to defer to legal counselor the commanders. thank you. >> all right. colonel cruz. >> you're muted, i believe. i still can't hear you. all right. maybe you can give me a response, ms. briton. let me move to ranking member gallagher. >> thank you, chairwoman. to all the witnesses starting with ms. barron and then representative. we have a gao report including 32 recommendations for actions, the gao testified to help as
9:31 am
sort of a blue precipitate for action. the is there a plan of action at dod and with milestones that we can track your progress on implementing gao's recommendations? >> thank you for the question. we had started implement being some of the recommendations before they were reported, if you will. so we have made some progress on some and actually getting close to fruition, currently working on others, and we'd be happy to provide you a kind of a status, if you will at a later time. >> that would be helpful. and that process of tracking and implementation would be standardized across the services in. >> we are working on standardizing across the services, yes, sir. it's a challenge as you know, but we're working on it. >> i'm not quite sure who to direct this to, so maybe you can help me. how do you maintain contact with the victims that you serve
9:32 am
so that you know your programs are hitting the mark and get feedback from the community most affected by them? >> so, in general, and the services can answer more specifically. in general, part of what needs to happen is a good feedback mechanism for the victims that we serve. that's done through the installation staff offices, but we also have military family life counselors at all installations, as a matter of fact, 2300 of them at the moment and that is another avenue where families can give us the feedback that we need. >> well, and i would-- i guess i'd direct that same question to the services, because it's a bigger question, how are we measuring the effectiveness of our domestic violence programs? and it strikes me getting feedback from the people most effective is one way to gauge whether we're actually having an impact. so i would just ask that question on maintaining contact with the victims we serve and by extension, measuring our
9:33 am
effectiveness to the services. >> start with the army, just bah us, a big army. >> thank you congressman gallagher. i would like to say that as ms. baron mentioned, at the installation level, the family advocacy committee led by the garrison commander led from the coordinated community response and they looked at least at the installation levels, program outcomes, mainly, and to hear the voices of the victim, from the victim advocates that are communicating in that forum as well as the family managers. at the headquarters level we look at the trends of reporting and work with our medical counterparts and looking at overall measures like treatment, treatment completion as well. >> okay. who-- marine corps, since i'm a marine, i'm going to pick on you.
9:34 am
>> thank you, congressman for the question, it's a very important one. so, the marine core has just completed calendar year 2020 an evaluation of our support program and it was a comprehensive evaluation that consisted of needs assessment, provider service, measures of performance and some measures of effectiveness. we just completed that and we're preparing to start some working groups with our installation family programs. >> and then colonel cruz, i don't know if your mute problems got fixed, but i'd invite you to comment as well. >> thank you, sir. can you hear me? >> yeah, loud and clear. >> so the department of air force programs uses domestic abuse victim advocates that are vital for the coordinated community response to the treatment. and provide 24 hours, seven days a week administrative care
9:35 am
to the victims. along with that, we do have client satisfaction surveys that we give to our families, and we also measure our effectiveness and our treatment by having abuse, inventories, and inventories free and post treatment and feedback performed treatment. so those are some things we do in the air force, thank you. >> well, the navy may be saved by the bell, i have 15 seconds and it's my first time as ranking member i don't want to go to the chair. >> ranking member you can certainly ask the question, so-- >> okay, thank you. >> let's hear from the navy. >> thank you, ranking member gallagher and i appreciate the question, so the navy is very concerned about ensuring that
9:36 am
our family members and our spouses and victims have a voice and the cno directed the family network, governance that actually looks at the services that we provide the family, we conducted a survey, 20,000 people, family members responded. basically identifying the need-- [inaudible] >> i think you're muted. >> yeah. >> unmute, please? there you go. >> so after 20,000 survey we lost you. >> yes, thank you. so we have the navy family framework and we identify 22,000 people, family members that participated in the survey, both virtual and in person, and we identified the need that we needed to have a better connection with our
9:37 am
families and we developed an app from that and it contains all the resources that they need in order to ensure that they are fully aware of the resources that are available throughout the navy, as well as giving them a voice and providing us with feedback as to things that we need to do as a service to support them. >> thank you very much. my time has expired. >> all right, the gentleman's time has expired. let' move now to the gentle woman from texas for five minutes. >> thank you, madam chair, and many thanks to our witnesses. for the services, i want to ask you a bit more about the metrics that you use to evaluate the effectiveness of your respective military service, domestic abuse awareness campaigns and ask you, also, about your overall
9:38 am
resources and jo ut-- outreach. can you detail the metrics you used for the effectiveness of your program and how do you get resources and outreach to our families? >> thank you. >> thank you, this is colonel lewis from the army. so i first of all want to say, we heard and we learned a lot from the-- here in 2019 and took action from that where we talked about outreach to families. we actually initiated a study with the rand corporation in order to help us better understand the best practices to reach families living off the installation, recognizing that 70% of the families, as well as isolated families were more at risk. we received some initial findings of the study, going into the second year of the
9:39 am
study and we continued to recognize it's important for us to reach out to families where they work, play and pray, doing that i remember work and get to them there so that we can provide services. in terms of measuring the effectiveness of our programs, we continue to look at this utilitization rates of the information and other clicks on websites or information distributed and disseminated at public gatherings. >> okay. thank you, colonel lewis. colonel? >> yes, ma'am, the question the air force programs, information to its spouses, to the department of the air force key spouse program, the orientation, and partnership counsel, collaboration with the community, prevention integrator and with the
9:40 am
prevention integrator, each installation, they are -- they are to provide information to families, we also work with all the helping agencies in the community action, and what we do, we provide all available resources and put templates together for the installation. our metrics before as mentioned for treatment, are potential inventory and also a couple satisfaction inventories. we also have some prevention tools that we need in a new program to look at measures and incidents as well. thank you. >> thank you, colonel. ms. griffin. >> yes, thank you for the question. in terms of looking at what we provide in terms of getting outreach to our families, we
9:41 am
have a frequent family support website at the headquarters where it identifies the resources that we provide through our web pages, we also utilize resiliency work shops developed across. and those invite family members to be a part so we can hear what the need are and address those at times. we also have family readiness groups that also work directly with families to provide resources and information across our portfolio to ensure that they have all the resources and information they need and we also have om om budsmen. they have closer contact with the family to ensure that the support is needed and integration into the military life is significant and central to their role. we also look at metrics.
9:42 am
our awareness campaigns, not-- we do not look at doing a one year-- i mean, one month campaign, but we really look at an enduring effort. so those are counted throughout the year where we're identifying the number of surveys that we receive and how we're able to still do effectiveness in our outreach regarding awareness month and that's what child abuse as well as domestic abuse. >> thank you, we only have been 10 seconds. >> go ahead and complete the few sentences. >> yes, ma'am. i'll just highlight a few of the effective campaigns that we do. we have a centralized marketing strategy in the marine corps that we use and we also use collaborative response coordinated effort with our partners and it's on and off the installations. additionally, we highlight our national awareness month that is domestic violence and child
9:43 am
abuse and we know in our mission, we have a goal to continue to outreach our family members. we do have measures of performance that we track with our feedback forms and measures of effectiveness are really difficult to get for prevention efforts and outreach. so is something that we're opening to hear how others do that and to improve our efforts. >> thank you, madam chair. i kneeled back. >> the gentle woman yields back. we recognize ms. bice from oklahoma for five minutes. >> thank you, madam chair. this is directed to director cruz. i represent many who work at tinker air force base, can you tell me how the advocacy works with military families where there's a known history. domestic abuse and domestic
9:44 am
violence particularly as pertains to children? >> thank you for that question. the department of the air force commission familiarry advocacy program to help for prevent and treatment of family and child abuse and neglect. each case is taken to our incident determination committee, which is a central registry board. from the central registry board, a recommendation is made to see whether or not they'll admit using dod definitions or domestic abuse. and if the definitions were met for criteria, then treatment is provided for the family. throughout this process, we have domestic abuse victim advocates that will be there for the victims and families to ensure that they get resources
9:45 am
needed with the other base agencies, like the legal office, law enforcement, and some of the other helping agencies, like chaplain that are available at each resource base. >> thank you, and then this question is for any of our panelists here. can you talk a little about the differences with how your offices interact with families based on whether they're on or off base and how at that relationship influences the types of services that they're receiving? >> if i might start on-- this is patty from osd. ma'am, what we really try to do, reach our families off the installation through military one source, which is our very full program of resources and information. now, i know that it's not always easy to access military-- it is very easy to access
9:46 am
military one source, but it's not always easy to get the word out about military one source and that's where we are thinking outside the box about different opportunities and different ways that we can make sure that our families, especially those outside, that live outside the installation are aware of, of military one source. it can lead to all sorts of support. all sorts of help, it's a great program. so let me make my service counterparts talk more specifically. >> thank you, congress woman. i'd like to say that the covid pandemic gave us opportunity to learn to reach out to families especially when they're in their shutdown period. we realized one, we expanded our virtual presence, using facebook platforms for information. reaching out to families, but the other thing that we found out. it was welcomed by virtual services welcomed by victims,
9:47 am
especially those who had transportation programs or maybe daycare problems. we continued to use virtual health care delivery as needed to support the families as long as the interviews and the sessions are not compromised by maybe a perpetrator or offender that's standing over the victim during-- we still work for those as part of our assessment with the victim. >> if i may follow-up, colonel, do you expect to be, as you continue to utilize the resources, even after we have seen an improvement in the pandemic? >> yeah, that again was one of the great lessons learned. that we have to expand this for prevention efforts and treatment efforts. that remains as available for families as they ask. >> any of the others want to comment? >> ma'am for the department
9:48 am
program, we utilize services on and off base, we have mutual agreement with law enforcement and also child protective services and domestic shelters. so we work hand in hand with the community to ensure that we provide a safe environment for our victims and we provide the optimal agreement as well. so we're always looking at ways to improve and to join the pandemic, we did have to use virtual platforms so what we've learned to do is virtual training, and virtual under management. and some communication classes all virtually and also, the support programs, we were able to meet moms at their homes during the pandemic, using virtual platforms as well. so, that to do something in the future as we continue with the pandemic. thank you. >> thank you, madam chair. >> i yield back. >> the gentle woman from
9:49 am
pennsylvania recognized for five minutes. >> thank you. if it's okay i'd like to ask a question of all the service members and then around the horn with yes or no questions. >> from the data that we understand now are the rates of intimate partner violence higher in the military than they are in the civilian sector and if it's okay i'll start with colonel lewis to say if they are to your knowledge higher or lower? >> or the same? >> thank you, congresswoman, i'm going to have to take that for the record, i don't have that on hand. >> and colonel cruz. >> ma'am, as far as the rates, i'll have to take that for the record, but from the air force family program, we're not sure with a the correlation is or the factors are, so, we're the department of the programs
9:50 am
we'll monitor the situation and the victims. >> from the navy, for ms. griffin? >> yes, thank you for the question and this, too, is out of our area of responsibility, but we will certainly take it for the record and defer. >> and then the marine core? >> thank you, congresswoman. that's a great question, i also will have to take that for the record as i don't have the data on hand, however, we will not lose sight, even if our numbers are lower of offering the services that we have available. >> and i ask these questions because i believe that there is data and i will welcome it when it comes back that would indicate that the level of sexual violence as well as domestic violence is higher in our services than it is in the civilian population and i think that one of the things i'm
9:51 am
interested in in my circular project. societies that have higher domestic violence in family conflict resolution tend to be more violent and more involved in, more than those who have lower family violence rates. so this is can go really concerning when your business-- i'm an air force vet and when your business is national security and readiness, so this is something that deserves our attention. and assuming that we're in a place high, low or in between, what kinds are we taking to address? what is the culture, frankly, to kind of toxic gendertrope to make sure that we're ready and military women who serve in uniform and their families and men who serve in uniform and their families are safe? what are the specific steps we're able to do to address this issue that we're talking about of domestic violence? >> ma'am, if i may, i'm for
9:52 am
osd. we've contracted with the rand corporation to look into just exactly that. what are the factors of military family life or military life that might lend themselves to domestic abuse and intercorrected partner violence that the services might have more. >> with my remaining time, are any of the service members able to help me with that question? >> okay. our entire panel talked a little of sort of a culture of gender, effectively stereo type, mail versus female relationships and so trying to follow up in the real world, real service to understand whether the testimony alliance to what we're doing to address this issue. >> congresswoman, thank you. i think that the fort hood independent review committee along with the it many we heard today, again, points out, it
9:53 am
gives us an opportunity to really take a deep look at the climate and culture of the army and the secretary of the army did establish the assessing an action on the independented recommendation and climate culture is part of that. >> thank you, any other folks. >> ma'am. >> yes. >> the department of the air force program, the victim centric service and safety are paramount. so no matter who the victim is. we're always striving to many prove our services to our airmen and guardians, and getting the best possible. we'll continue to look at our processes and clap collaborate. thank you. >> yes. i would like to speak on behalf of the navy. and so we have the culture of
9:54 am
excellence which basically embodies an approach that we're looking at what right looks like and really spending more time on developing our sailors and ensure that we have them noted as signature behaviors and that's something we're continuing to work at. >> thank you, with that i'll yield back with. thank you, madam chair. >> the gentle woman yields back. do any of my colleagues wish to do a second round? are there any questions that any of you would like to follow up with? ranking member gallagher? >> i have none, thank you. >> all right. i just have a couple colonel cruz, gao found that the air force training service members about domestic abuse does not cover the required topics. what have you done to fix that? >> yes, ma'am. so we're currently working on a
9:55 am
point to assure that all topics are in the template and one of those issues, it is in our afi to ensure that the screening is conducted so we're going to include in afi, required topics. the other thing we're going to do to ensure consistency, make it part of the certification process, basically our inspection process and we'll get a monetary to ensure that each base, each installation has the training that the commanders are supposed to be getting. >> thank you. thank you, colonel. ms. griffin, the gao report says that the navy delivers periodic training on domestic abuse at quote, commander's discretion, which sends me through the roof. why is this critical training discretionary? and will the navy commit to making it mandatory?
9:56 am
>> yes, we are currently have an updated policy, which was updated may 2020 and does direct senior leader advisors, those of our sailors, as well as our commanders when they assume command within 90 days, to receive this training. and this training does align with dod policies and we have created a curriculum that covers all of the 13 elements that are required for the training. >> all right, so if i went back to the gao, they would say that you are now providing that as a mandatory training, not at the discretion of the commander? >> yes, ma'am, congresswoman. >> all right. phi final question is for you, ms. barron. one aspect of the family advocacy program that generates confusion among service members is that dual role in providing
9:57 am
support to victims and as a disciplinary institution. this is especially dicey when both the domestic partners accuse each other of abuse. and they have called my office and then treated them as if they're the perpetrator. is this a fundamental flaw in the design of the program or are there ways that the services could better clarify the various roles and responsibilities that that has the service member and military family member to seek services? >> i think i'm unmuted now, question. i agree with you, that that is a very frustration situation to be in. where you go to get support and then you get blocked somehow. what i think we need to do is what we've started to do and that is making the commanders, making senior nco's aware of what that does.
9:58 am
how we support victims and anyone that comes through that door that is reporting an incident needs to be talked to, has an an advocacy counselors creating safety plans and then move on to the incident determination committee so all reports of abuse are collected and we could paint a better picture to our command and to our services about what might be going on, what trends are going on and how to get support to anyone that is telling us that there is an issue and there's a problem and they do not feel safe at home. >> all right, but it does, i think, help us recognize that you cannot serve in this case both the victim and the service member or vice versa, so i think we're going to have to look at that more closely. those are all of my questions. again, anyone else with
9:59 am
questions? all right. thank you all for participating. this is an area that we're very concerned about, i don't know that we've solved every question here. i know the gao has reported something and we're going to follow very closely and really require compliance. it's not good enough to say working on a plan or we're studying it. we need to see consistency across the services. we need to see data and every one of you should be prepared to answer the questions that ms. hoolahan asked. is it worse in the military than the civilian population. the answer is yes. so that should increase our interest in wanting to try and fix it. with that, we will conclude the hearing and we stand adjourned. thank you all for your
10:00 am
statements. >> the u.s. senate about to gavel in working today on more nominations including for the federal trade commission and the office of personnel management. first votes are expected at 11:30 a.m. eastern time. lawmakers will recess to attend party caucus lunches. you're watching live senate coverage on c-span2. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the chaplain dr. barry black will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. holy god, known to us in countless ways, we seek to magnify your glorious name.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on