DOD VICTIM AND WITNESS ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS
Department of Defense (DoD) Directive 1030.1, Victim and Witness Assistance (November 23, 1994) and DoD Instruction 1030.2, Victim and Witness Assistance Procedures (December 23, 1994) implement statutory requirements for victim and witness assistance and provide guidance for assisting victims and witnesses of crime from initial contact through investigation, prosecution, and confinement.
Together, the Directive and Instruction provide policy guidance and specific procedures to be followed for victim and witness assistance in all sectors of the Military. They apply to the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the following military components:
- The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
- The Unified Combatant Commands
- The Inspector General of the Department of Defense
- Department of Defense Field Activities and Defense Agencies
- The Military Services, including the Coast Guard (when operating as a Service in the Navy).
The Directive includes a Bill of Rights which closely resembles the Federal Crime Victims' Bill of Rights. DoD officials are responsible for ensuring that victims of military crimes enjoy these rights:
- Right to be treated with fairness and respect
- Right to be reasonably protected from the offender
- Right to be notified of court-martial proceedings
- Right to be present at court-martial proceedings
- Right to confer with the Government attorney
- Right to available restitution
- Right to know outcome of trial and release from confinement
The DoD victim and witness assistance programs cover the entire military justice process -- from investigation through prosecution and confinement.
In providing services and assistance to victims, the DoD programs emphasize an interdisciplinary approach involving the following:
- Law enforcement personnel
- Criminal investigators
- Family advocacy personnel
- Emergency room personnel
- Family service center personnel
- Equal opportunity personnel
- Judge advocates
- Unit commanding officers
- Corrections personnel
DoD Victim and witness assistance programs use standard forms to advise victims and witnesses of their rights during all stages of a case. The following chart lists the DoD forms, when they are used, and purpose:
Provides notice to victims and witnesses on rights and information on the military justice system
DD Forms 2702/2703
Provide notice to victims and witnesses on rights during court martial proceedings and information about court-martial process
DD Forms 2704/2705
Provide information to victim on the offender's sentence, confinement status, clemency and parole hearings and release from confinement
DD Form 2706
Provides statistical information on assistance rendered to victims and witnesses
An Interdisciplinary DoD Victim and Witness Assistance Council provides a forum for the exchange of information and the coordination of policy recommendations. The Council helps to foster the implementation of consistent and comprehensive policies and procedures to respond to crime victims and witnesses in all of the Military Services. A Senior Program Specialist with the U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime, serves as a liaison member.
Each branch of the military has issued regulations to further implement victim and witness programs and assign program responsibilities. . All of these programs implement the guidelines and policies set forth in the DoD Directive and Instruction described above. There are some differences in the programs within each Service. The Air Force and Army have designated the Service Judge Advocate General as component responsible official to provide oversight over the respective programs. The Chief of Naval Personnel is the component responsible official for the Navy.
Each Military Department has also established an interdisciplinary Victim and Witness Assistance Council. Each Military Department has also designated a central repository for tracking notice of the status of offenders confined in military correctional facilities.
In addition, as required by DoD policy, local councils have been established at each significant military installation to ensure that an interdisciplinary approach is followed by victim and witness service providers.