Local News

Defense Department Implements New Domestic Violence Measure

Posted October 23, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— Good evening and thanks for joining us. Many of the one point four million men and women in the military are required to carry guns.

Tonight, their careers could be in jeopardy if they've been convicted of domestic abuse since September 30th of last year.

Terri Gruca joins us live from our Fayetteville newsroom more on the military's get tough policy against domestic abuse. Terri??

A year after a federal law was passed to cut down on domestic abuse. The Department of Defense implemented a policy yesterday that allows commanders in the military to take weapons and ammunition from any service member who's been convicted of domestic abuse. Military wide 18-point-7 percent of the spouses were abused. Many feel this action will help cut down on those numbers.

They fight for freedom and for peace. But fight at home.. and soldiers could find themselves doing their jobs without their guns. As part of a federal law passed last year Military commanders have just now been given permission to take away weapons and ammunition from any service member who's been convicted of domestic abuse.

I guess it will effect soldiers jobs and maybe that will make them think twice about domestic violence if they know their job is going to be affected.

Crystal Black works with domestic violence offenders and victims.. and says the measures are very much needed.

A Pentagon study last year found that more than 50,000 members of the military had hit or hurt their spouse between 1991 and 1995. Last year the army recorded about 3% of spouses had been abused. Fort Bragg's numbers are lower than that. And military leaders say that's because Fort Bragg is trying to crack down on domestic abuse.

We want to identify soldiers with problems and get them into treatment to try to prevent it from happening again.

But no one's sure what effect the new law will have. Some fear soliders will be forced out.. because their jobs require that they use weapons. But domestic abuse counselors say having the military comply with the new law will send a strong message that fighting battles in the field is one thing.. fighting it out home won't be allowed.

The military is requiring all service men and women fill out forms that ask whether or not they've been convicted of domestic abuse. To make sure they are are truthful.. anyone caught lying can be prosecuted and thrown out of the military.