Violence in military families remains a vexing problem. Since the advent of the Global War on Terror, there is inconsistent evidence that the prevalence of family violence is increasing, particularly during and after military deployments. However, child neglect appears to increase significantly during military deployments. The military has developed family advocacy programs designed to keep families safe and intervene to reduce the deleterious effects of exposure to family violence. This is one of the first studies to examine the quality with which a family advocacy program is implemented and the degree to which families engage with the program. To conduct this study, the case files of 226 families who came in contact with the Army Family Advocacy Program (FAP) and whose cases were closed in 2013 were reviewed and coded across several implementation and service outcomes. These included involvement of qualified staff, whether or not appropriate victim and offender assessments were completed, degree of inter-agency communication, and appropriateness of referrals, among others. Soldier and family member participation in FAP and other Army-sponsored programs designed to reduce violence was also assessed. Generally speaking, the Army Family Advocacy Program was implemented with high quality, established processes and procedures for handling cases were largely followed, and FAP staff responded rapidly and thoroughly to reported abuse. However, family engagement with Army services and supports was low. Developing robust approaches to engaging families in family programming must be a high priority going forward.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Life-span and Life-course Studies