Fort Campbell is the first Army post to take part in a domestic
violence prevention project that will heavily involve off-post
agencies and resources.
The Military/Civilian Coordinated Community Response to Domestic
Violence Demonstration Project is a model officials hope will be a
blueprint for all military installations.
About 80 agency directors and representatives from Fort Campbell,
Montgomery County and Christian County, Ky., who deal with domestic
violence attended Tuesday's meeting on post. They learned how to
better work together and reviewed the project that is facilitated
through the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence based in
Representatives are expected to sign an agreement to implement
the program at Fort Campbell by the end of February.
Because 70 percent of Fort Campbell's soldiers live off post,
surrounding community agencies such as law enforcement, county
courts and victim advocacy agencies should play a major role to
ensure both victims and offenders of domestic and sexual violence
are treated fairly.
"We want to stop the violence," said the center's Executive
Director Deborah Tucker. "That's our ultimate goal."
Fort Campbell officials say they didn't have 2004 domestic
violence statistics compiled as of Tuesday, which covers incidents
between Oct. 1, 2003 to Sept. 30, 2004.
The latest numbers available are for 2002, with 4.6 confirmed
cases of domestic violence for every 1,000 Fort Campbell soldiers.
The rate for the entire Army in 2002 was 5.7 per 1,000. Numbers were
not recorded for 2003 because the 101st Airborne Division was
deployed to Iraq.
Army Community Services Family Advocacy Manager Louie Sumner said
although he believes better coordination with the local community is
always an objective, he said some agency officials think the
military isn't doing enough to punish the perpetrator.
"(I'm for) any way to better protect our families and soldiers,
as long as soldiers are not treated any differently than anyone
else," Sumner said.
The significance is a soldier convicted of domestic violence can
no longer carry a firearm under the federal Lautenberg law, which
basically means his Army career is over.
To avoid a conviction, many soldiers enroll in a 24-week domestic
violence education class to rehabilitate them rather than face a
Peggy Macias, Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault unit
coordinator for the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, said she
sees the frustration on both sides. The unit was created in November
2003, thanks to a federal grant, and has assisted more than 800
people since then.
"The victim feels like they only care about the soldier and not
her," said Macias, who added that it's tough for troops because
they're trained to fight. "Once it gets to court, the victim feels
that the soldier got off too easy."
The center is in collaboration with the Department of Justice,
Office on Violence Against Women and the Department of Defense.
Chantal Escotocovers military affairs and can be
reached at 245-0216 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published January 26, 2005