Know Your Rights
Active Duty Military Reporting Options
Sexual assault is the most underreported crime in the Military. It is highly encouraged that you report your assault. Some survivors may choose to pursue legally and other survivors may choose to report in order to get the treatment and mental health care they need after their assault. The Department of Defense understands that not all survivors wish to pursue legal actions against their abuser which is why there are two options for reporting your assault. The two options for reporting are known as, Restricted Reporting and Unrestricted Reporting.
Restricted and Unrestricted Reporting
Under DoD's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Policy, Service members and their adult military dependents have two reporting options: Restricted Reporting and Unrestricted Reporting. During your Intake Process with the corresponding branch of service SAPR, you will complete a DD Form 2910 Victim Reporting Preference Statement. The DD Form 2910 is where you will elect your reporting option.
Please note, you are entitled to receive a copy of the DD Form 2910. This form is retained with your Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC). He or she will always have the capability to assist you in retrieving your first copy and additional copies of the form. All incidents of sexual assault regardless of its reporting option, and/or investigative findings, are reported inside of a database system known as the Defense Sexual Assault Incident Database (DSAID). This database is a centralized case-level database used to collect information on sexual assaults involving members of the United States Armed Forces. Your branch of military service Sexual Assault Response Coordinators use DSAID to provide thorough victim case management. This database can always be referenced by an authorized user. Please keep this in mind should you pursue any documentation or records of your sexual assault in the near future.
(Click below to learn more about each option)
Victim/Witness Assistance Program (VWAP)
Once you have reported your assault and an investigation has started, you are entitled to a VWAP. The purpose of the VWAP is to make sure the victim is heard throughout the investigative process and judicial process, while also keeping the victim informed on the status of his/her case. To learn more about the Victim/Witness Assistance Program please click here.
Victim Advocate Program (All branches of service have a Victim Advocate Program)
Once you have reported your assault, you are entitled to a Victim Advocate. The Victim Advocate can be civilian or Uniform Personnel. The Uniform Personnel Victim Advocates are called Uniformed Victim Advocates or UVA. To learn more about the role of a Victim Advocate, please click here.
Sexual Assault/Sexual Harassment Reporting Websites For All Branches Of Service
*Some branches of service have what is called a Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program (SAPR), while other branches have what is called a Sexual Harassment/Assault Response Prevention Program (SHARP). Please click below on the branch of service SAPR or SHARP contact pertaining to your case:
National Guard & Reserve Reporting Options
National Guard and Reserve Component members can make a report of sexual assault to the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program (SAPR) regardless of when the assault occurred.
Regardless of your duty status at the time that the sexual assault occurred, or at the time that you are seeking help, National Guard and Reserve Component members can elect either the Restricted or Unrestricted Reporting option and have access to a Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) and a SAPR Victim Advocate (VA).
However, medical entitlements remain dependent on a Line of Duty (LOD) determination as to whether or not the sexual assault incident occurred in an active duty or inactive duty training status.
If you are reporting a sexual assault that occurred prior to or while not performing active service or inactive training, you will be able to receive limited SAPR support services from a SARC and a SAPR Victim Advocate and are eligible to file a Restricted or Unrestricted Report.
The following classifications of National Guard and Reservists can make a Restricted Report:
Title 32 or Traditional Drilling Status
Inactive Duty for Training (IDT)
Active Duty Operational Support (less than 30 days)
Title 10, Active Duty
Title 32, Active Guard/Reserve (AGR)
Please Note: If SAPR support services are limited based upon your status, you still have the right to seek assistance from civilian agencies that are afforded to you by the State in which the assault occurred, or your State of Legal Residence. There are Sexual Assault Response Teams (SART) standing up in various states. SARTs are trained Sexual Assault Response Teams that help survivors through the maze of community services available to them. To learn more, please visit National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) by clicking here.
Transitioning Service Member (TSM) Overview/Reporting
Transitioning out of the military can be a stressful time, but may be especially difficult for survivors of sexual assault who may feel overwhelmed by the process or unsure about how to access care after they transition out. It is also important that if you are a Transitioning Service Member to retrieve documentation of your assault to assist in treatment, compensation, and civilian efforts in attempting to hold the perpetrator accountable should you elect to do so. You have a right to request additional copies of the DD 2910 Victim Reporting Preference Statement, DD Form 2911 Victim Forensic Examination form, military treatment records, case numbers (regardless of investigative findings), etc.
It is also equally important to identify civilian agencies, and or non-profit organizations specifically designed to assist you. The Department of Veteran Affairs is one of the agencies available to assist you. In fact, upon enrollment into the Department of Veteran Affairs, you have the option to elect yourself as a Military Sexual Trauma (MST) Survivor. This option alerts the Military Sexual Trauma Coordinator assigned to that specific Department of Veteran Affairs. You can also inquire about the Department of Veteran Affairs Tele Health Services which is expanding to provide virtual treatment options.
In all that you do, never cease the will to advocate on your behalf and seek assistance. You are not solely limited to the Department of Veteran Affairs. There are treatment options available via other resources. Please go to our Treatment/Resources Page
Reporting Options for Non-Service Members
"How do I report a sexual assault if I am not a military member?"
If you are a spouse or an adult military dependent (18 years of age and older), you are entitled to the same SAPR services and support as a military member.
If you or your child were sexually assaulted by your intimate partner you can also contact your nearest Family Advocacy Program Manager for assistance.
If a child of an active duty service member is sexually assaulted by another service member you may report to the particular branch of service Law Enforcement Agency or the Family Advocacy Program. Use the Installation Locator to locate your nearest Family Advocacy Program on your installation.
If you are a civilian and a victim of a sexual assault perpetrated by a Military Service Member, most Law Enforcement Agencies have what is called a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that mandates they report the perpetrator to the Provost Marshall of the perpetrators military base. This is very important in your efforts to hold the perpetrator accountable should you elect to do so. You are entitled to a Victim/Witness Liaison who has a similar MOU to communicate with the military Family Advocacy Program Coordinator and/or military equivalent of the civilian Victim/Witness Liaison who is assisting you. The Military Family Advocacy Program as well as the Victim/Witness Liaison Coordinator does have the capability to assist you in filing for an Order of Protection.
If you are a foreign national who has been sexually assaulted by a U.S. Military Service Member you can report to the military law enforcement located on the base where the perpetrator is stationed or you can report the assault to local law enforcement where the assault occurred.
Naval Criminal Investigative Service Hotline (NCIS) (Navy and Marine Corps cases of sexual assault)
Air Force Office of Special Investigations contact (OSI) (Air Force cases of sexual assault)
US Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) (Army cases of sexual assault)
"Do I have a choice in whether my case is handled by civilian or military justice system?"
YES, you do. Military service members who are victims of sex-related crimes committed by military service members and civilians who are victims of sex-related crimes committed by military service members have a say in whether their case is tried in civilian court or in military court. In accordance with Public Law: Pub. L. No. 113-291 § 534 the President amended the Rules for Court-Martial to reflect the requirement in R.C.M. 306(e): to permit a victim of a sex-related offense to have a say in whether the victim would prefer their case be handled in civilian court or in the military court. If the victim elects to have their case heard by civilian court, the commander, and if charges are preferred, the convening authority, shall ensure that the civilian authority with jurisdiction over the offense is notified of the victim’s preference for civilian prosecution. If the commander, and if charges are preferred, the convening authority, learns of any decision by the civilian authority to prosecute or not prosecute the offense in civilian court, the convening authority shall ensure the victim is notified.
*For purposes of this rule, “victim” is defined as an individual who has suffered direct physical, emotional, or pecuniary harm as a result of the commission of an alleged sex-related offense as defined in Article 120, 120a, 120b, 120c, 125, or any attempt thereof under Article 80.
Special Victims' Counsel (SVC) and Victims' Legal Counsel (VLC)
Special Victims' Counsel/Victims' Legal Counsel are military legal assistance attorneys who have received special training and are designated by The Judge Advocate General to serve as a SVC/VLC and will provide representation to clients. Constrained only by ethical limits, they represent the best interests of their clients as appropriate even when their client’s interest does not align with those of the government of the United States. Their primary duty is to his/her client and no other person, organization or entity.
The Special Victims' Counsel (SVC) and Victims' Legal Counsel (VLC) Program were developed to strengthen the support of victims of sexual assault and enhance their rights within the military justice system. The role of an SVC/VLC is to zealously represent the client's interests by being a powerful voice for the client throughout the military justice process.
Special Victims' Counsel/Victims' Legal Counsel will aid in the victims’ understanding of the military justice process and provide each victim with the legal assistance needed to allow full participation in applicable programs, services, and the military justice process. This will be accomplished by providing effective and timely advice, being available to assist throughout the full spectrum of the military justice process from initial investigation to convening authority action, and providing appropriate advocacy to assure rights afforded are fully realized.
Click here to view all military SVC/VLC links.
Protect Our Defenders -- Civilian Victims' Legal Counsel
Civilians and active duty military who have been sexually assaulted by a United States military servicemember are entitled to Civilian Victims' Legal Counsel in addition to the military Victims' Legal Counsel. If you desire to be screened for representation from a civilian Special Victims' Counsel, please click here to be connected to Protect Our Defenders, a leading organization in the prosecutorial efforts of Service members in the United States Military who are perpetrators of sexual assault and sexual violence. You will have the option to complete a confidential New Legal Service Application
*Please understand that your case must be screened in order to be considered for representation by civilian Victims' Legal Counsel.
Important DOD Forms You Are Entitled To:
DD FORM 2701-Initial Information for Victims and Witnesses of Crime: This form explains what your rights are as a Victim, as well as the rights of a Witness of a crime. It also provides resources afforded to you. This form should be provided to you by the Criminal Investigative Official assigned to your case.
DD FORM 2702- Court Martial Information for Victims and Witnesses of a Crime DD Form 2702 is a brochure that explains to you the Court Martial Process, as well as the Court Proceedings. If you have not been provided this form, please notify the legal team assigned to assist you in your case and or your Special Victims Counsel/Victims Legal Counsel elected to assist you.
DD FORM 2703- Post Trial Information for Victims and Witnesses of a Crime DD Form 2703 is a brochure that explains to you what happens post-trial and how to exercise your rights.
DD FORM 2704-VICTIM/WITNESS CERTIFICATION AND ELECTION CONCERNING PRISONER STATUS-This form shall be used for victims and appropriate witnesses to elect to be notified of changes in the offender's status while in confinement. For all cases resulting in a sentence to confinement, this DD Form 2704 is completed and forwarded to the Service Central Repository, the gaining confinement facility, local responsible official, and the victim or witness/witnesses.
DD Form 2705-Notification of Victim/Witness of Prisoner Status-This form is used to notify the victim and witnesses of the prisoner status. It affords you an opportunity to appear before a Clemency/Parole Board regarding the convicted perpetrator of the crime against you.
Survivors' Bill of Rights Act of 2016
This bill amends the federal criminal code to establish statutory rights for sexual assault survivors, including the right to: (1) not be prevented from receiving a forensic medical examination and not be charged for an examination; (2) have a sexual assault evidence collection kit (i.e., a rape kit) preserved for 20 years or the maximum applicable statute of limitations, whichever is shorter; (3) receive written notification prior to destruction or disposal of a rape kit; and (4) be informed of these rights and policies. To learn more about the Survivors' Bill of Rights, please click here.
Criminal Investigative Reports & Court Proceedings
As a survivor of sexual assault, you have a right to request a copy of the Criminal Investigative Reports and General & Special Court Martial Proceedings. It is strongly encouraged that you complete a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for all documentation regarding your case. In order to obtain any information regarding the legal proceedings on your case, you will need to submit a FOIA to the Criminal Investigative Agency of your branch of service as well as to the Office of Military Courts. Both civilian's and active duty military, can submit FOIA requests regarding legal proceedings.
How to submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA):
*A FOIA Request is an option you may utilize in order to access documents regarding your sexual assault/case.
-Begin your request with “This is a Freedom of Information Act request".
-Explain in as much detail as possible what document you are requesting. The more detail you can provide of what you are asking for, the easier it will be to locate.
-Depending on your request, there may be fees in order to have your request processed. You must agree to pay all fees pertaining to your request in order to receive the documents you are requesting.
-Be sure your correct postal address is documented on your request. You may also include your contact number.
-Allow for a response time of 20 business days for less complex requests. For more complex requests it can take on average around 100 business days.
FOIA Request (Army): (you may submit via email or postal mail)
Office of the Army Clerk of Court US Army Legal Services Agency
9275 Gunston Road
Fort Belvoir, VA 22060
Fax: (703) 806-0124
FOIA Request (Marine Corps):
Headquarters U.S. Marine Corps
ATTN: FOIA/PA Section (ARSF) RM 213289
3000 Marine Corps Pentagon
Washington, DC 20350-3000
For more information contact: (703) 614-4008
FOIA Request (Navy):
In order to submit a FOIA for the Navy, you need to determine which command may have the document you are requesting. Once you have that information, you must send your request to that specific command.
*If you do not know which command may have the document you are requesting, please call (202)-685-6530/6517 for additional help with your FOIA.
FOIA Request (Air Force):
FOIA for the United States Air Force: (you may submit via email or postal mail)
1000 Air Force Pentagon
Washington, DC 20330-1000
FOIA Request (Coast Guard): (you may submit via email or postal mail)
ATTN: FOIA OFFICER
U.S. Coast Guard STOP 7710
2703 Martin Luther King JR Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20593 -7710
Reprisal, The Whistleblower Act, and The Role of the Inspector General (IG)
If you feel you are being retaliated against and receiving unfair treatment, it is your right to file an IG Report.
"What is an Inspector General Investigation (IG)?"
An Inspector General Investigation is when the Inspector General of a particular branch of service investigates concerns that include the following matters: (please note there are other matters the office will investigate as well, however, these are some of the top matters)
Sexual Harassment/Sexual Assault
Abuse of position
Reprisal: (Retaliation, Restriction, Ostracism, and Maltreatment)
Misuse of Official Time, Government Property, Position, and Public Office
Improper referral for Mental Health Evaluations
False Official Statements/Claims
Conflicts of Interest
Bribes/kickbacks/Acceptance of Gratitude
"I am active duty and fearful of retaliation or ostracism if I submit an IG complaint."
*It is highly important to understand that as a military service member or a federal employee you are protected under The Military Whistleblower Protection Act-Oct 1998. To learn more about your right to submit an IG complaint and your rights to being protected after doing so, please click here.
ARMY INSPECTOR GENERAL
Department of the Army Inspector General
1700 Army Pentagon
Washington, DC 20310-1700
Phone: 800-752-9747; DSN 865-1845
MARINE CORPS INSPECTOR GENERAL
Headquarters United States Marine Corps (HQMC) Code IG
Naval Support Facility - Arlington
701 S. Courthouse Rd
Building 12, Suite 1J165
Arlington, VA 22204
Phone:(703) 604-4661 DSN:664-4526
NAVAL INSPECTOR GENERAL
Office of the Naval Inspector General
1254 Ninth Street, S.E.
Washington Navy Yard, DC 20374-5006
Phone: 800-522-3451; DSN: 288-6842
AIR FORCE INSPECTOR GENERAL
1140 Air Force Pentagon
Washington, DC 20330-1140
Phone: 800-538-8429; DSN 425-8429
NATIONAL GUARD INSPECTOR GENERAL
Email : NGBIG@ng.army.mil (must include a signed DA 1559)
*Please note, if you feel you are not getting anywhere with your specific branch of service Inspector General’s Office, you can submit an IG request to the U.S. Department of Defense (D.O.D.) Inspector General’s Office.
Department of Defense Inspector General Address:
U.S. Department of Defense- Office of Inspector General
4800 Mark Center Drive
Alexandria, VA 22350-1500
You can also contact the D.O.D. IG office via the IG Hotline
Southwest Asia D.O.D. IG Hotline
A Congressional Inquiry should only be initiated after all other means of obtaining information or pursuing legal action have been exhausted. If you did not receive the information regarding your case that you requested or if you feel your case was mishandled, you have the right to request assistance from the elected officials (Senator and/or Representative) from your home of record.
If you do not know who your elected officials are for your state, please click here.
When requesting their assistance, please give a summary of what has occurred and why you need their assistance. Be sure to give them your contact information so they are able to respond to you in a timely matter.