You are wise to do your homework first. This is a sensitive issue and the counseling statements need to be reviewed by senior leaders before the Soldier sees them–the session may even need to be conducted by a senior individual in the chain of command like the CO, XO, platoon sergeant, or platoon leader.
There are several questions that should be asked:
- Was anyone injured? If so what was severity of the injuries?
- Has the Chain of Command instituted a cooling-off period to keep the individuals apart for approximately 72 hours?
- Has the spouse requested the Soldier be kept away?
- Is the marriage repairable?
- Have the Soldier and spouse been offered the opportunity to speak with a counselor, chaplain, or a specialist who deals with abuse?
Depending on the situation, the counseling may need to contain some or all of the following elements:
- A no-contact/protective order.
- If a conviction of domestic violence is likely, a counseling containing the Lautenberg amendment should be completed.
- A report of derogatory information maybe required to the BN S-2.
Ensure that everyone is treated fairly. Make sure you know both sides of the story. Do not jump to conclusions and do not take sides. Ensure you treat both parties with respect. Remember this is a difficult time for the family.
Protective order example
A protective order should be given by a commander or executive officer. Example:
This is a direct order given to PVT Snuffy. You are hereby ordered to refrain from any and all actions that could result in a domestic violence charge against you. This includes but is not limited to, emotional abuse, physical abuse, and attempts of any nature that could promote or lead to a situation of domestic violence. You are also not to participate in any acts (such as drinking, yelling, making harassing phone calls, etc.) that could lead to an allegation of domestic violence. If at any time I am informed by formal charges or informally on a sworn statement by a reliable source, I may consider imposing UCMJ action against you for willfully disobeying a superior commissioned officer (article 90), failure to obey order or regulation (article 92), disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and discipline (article 134).