Standards for Military Family Readiness programs

2020 Edition

Family Advocacy Program Services (MIL-FAP) 9: Domestic Abuse Advocacy and Support Services

Survivors and their children, as applicable, receive a range of supportive services that promote well-being and self-determination.

2020 Edition




Customers receiving Family Advocacy Program Services gain new competencies, improve individual and family functioning and resiliency, make connections in their community, and reduce their risk for family violence.
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the programs’ practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions; exceptions do not impact service quality and/or overall performance.
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance 
A rating of (2) indicates that a programs’ infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement. The majority of the standard's requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented.  Minor inconsistencies and practices that are not fully developed are noted, however, these do not significantly impact service quality and/or overall performance.
Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that significant aspects of the programs’ observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement. The program has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework. Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner.  Service quality or program functioning may be compromised. Capacity is at a basic level.
Unsatisfactory Implementation and Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all. Observed infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.

Please see Rating Guidance for additional rating examples. 
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Procedures for collaborating with child protective services agencies (MIL-FAP 9.05)
  • Procedures for protecting the safety of survivors when perpetrators are involved in services, if applicable (MIL-FAP 9.07)
  • Record keeping procedures for domestic abuse survivors (MIL-FAP 9.08)

MIL-FAP 9.01

Survivors receive assistance with the following, as appropriate to the needs of the customer:
  1. finding a safe, stable living arrangement;
  2. working with law enforcement and the courts;
  3. locating an attorney;
  4. obtaining needed educational or training services;
  5. conducting an effective job search;
  6. accessing child care, transportation, healthcare and other needed military or civilian resources and benefits;
  7. managing a household;
  8. budgeting and money management, including credit and debt counseling; and
  9. accessing food and nutrition assistance or resources.


Educational offerings may be provided through referral to another program.


Examples of appropriate living arrangements include finding a new residence and living independently in a new community, residing with friends or relatives, transitional housing, emergency shelter, and returning home with available legal and command protections when necessary.
Literature suggests that one of the main reasons survivors have limited options for improving or attaining safety is a lack of financial resources.

MIL-FAP 9.02

Counseling services are available as needed, either directly or by referral, for survivors and their children and include:

  1. clinical-counseling;
  2. support groups; and
  3. behavioral health consultations.

MIL-FAP 9.03

Survivors with children have access to educational material and support in the following areas, as appropriate to the needs of the customer;

  1. the effects of exposure to domestic abuse on children;
  2. services that promote child resiliency;
  3. parenting children who have experienced trauma; and
  4. repairing or strengthening their relationship with their children and fostering supportive parenting and secure attachments.


Examples of services that may benefit children who have been exposed to domestic abuse include counseling, recreational opportunities, and opportunities to set goals and feel accomplished. 

MIL-FAP 9.04

Survivors are helped to develop and expand their informal support networks, including connections with friends, extended family, and other members of their community.

MIL-FAP 9.05

When a survivor’s children are involved with child protective services, the MFR program collaborates with the child protective services agency in accordance with applicable laws to:

  1. provide needed education to child protective workers about the dynamics of domestic abuse;
  2. ensure that needs are addressed in a cohesive and comprehensive manner; and
  3. promote the best interests of both survivors and their children.
NA The MFR FAP provides education, information and referral, and safety planning only and is not authorized to provide clinical treatment services.

MIL-FAP 9.06

Services for children who have been exposed to domestic abuse focus on:

  1. meeting the specific needs of the child;
  2. assisting the child in safety planning that is coordinated with that of his or her non-offending parent;
  3. identifying and understanding the dynamics of domestic abuse;
  4. providing a venue to share his or her story;
  5. learning alternatives to violence in conflict resolution; and
  6. realizing that abuse is not their fault.
NA The MFR FAP provides education, information and referral, and safety planning only and is not authorized to provide clinical treatment services.

MIL-FAP 9.07

When the survivor wishes to involve the perpetrator in services, the MFR program assists survivors in exploring the risks and potential benefits of their involvement and, when perpetrators are involved in services:

  1. the MFR program has procedures to promote the safety and well-being of survivors and their children; and
  2. the survivor’s safety plan addresses issues specific to perpetrator involvement.


This standard does not require MFR programs to involve perpetrators in services.

MIL-FAP 9.08

Customer files for survivors of domestic abuse are maintained in a way that protects confidentiality and eliminates risk to survivors. 

Because it can be difficult to know what information might be damaging to survivors if disclosed, as in the case of a subpoena, literature suggests that record keeping should be limited to essential information, avoiding unnecessary detail and refraining from editorializing or recording opinions.