JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. –
The Family Advocacy Program, or FAP, is the Department of Defense program designated to address domestic abuse, child abuse and neglect. FAP works in coordination with key military components and civilian agencies to prevent abuse, encourage early identification and prompt reporting and promote victim safety and empowerment.
When abuse does occur, FAP ensures the safety of victims and helps military families overcome the effects of violence and change destructive behavior patterns. FAP members are trained to respond to incidents of abuse and neglect, support victims and offer prevention and treatment.
“The FAP’s top priority is safety for individuals and families in the military community who may be at risk or experiencing abuse,” said Robin Sevigney, 628th Medical Group Domestic Abuse Victim Advocate. “The FAP also works with service members and their families to encourage healthy, violence-free relationships and nurturing parenting.”
All active duty personnel and dependents entitled to receive medical care in a military treatment facility can use the FAP. Family Advocacy is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
“The FAP is comprised of several principal components,” said Staff Sgt. Danielle Jamison, 628th Medical Group family advocacy NCO-in-charge. “Prevention, maltreatment intervention and research and evaluation which includes education and psychosocial skills training, advocacy, collaboration, community intervention, referral to community resources and marketing. The mission of FAP is to build healthy Air Force communities through implementing programs designed for the prevention of violence and abuse.”
Domestic abuse can be defined as a pattern of violent behaviors that adults use against an intimate partner. Abuse can cause injury or even death, but it does not have to be only physical. Domestic violence also includes sexual, verbal and emotional abuse, as well as economic control over another person.
“One of the key warning signs in child maltreatment and spousal abuse includes an element of isolation,” said Sevigney. “Enforced isolation creates a decreased opportunity for those being impacted by abuse to be able to connect with resources and support systems which assist in safety.”
Red flags and warning signs of abuse include, but are not limited to: extreme jealousy, possessiveness, unpredictability, bad tempers, cruelty to animals, verbal abuse, controlling behavior, victim blaming, financial control, forced sex, victim demeaning, victim harassment and accusations.
“Abuse gets worse over time,” said Sevigney. “Early intervention could stop the progression of domestic violence. This is why knowing some of the subtle warning signs is so important.”
During a time of self-isolation and at-home quarantine, Team Charleston’s FAP members want to ensure the safety and well-being of service members and their families. Although outreach events are not being conducted at this time, those interested can find more informational tips and updates on the “JB Charleston Family Advocacy Program” Facebook page.
“An additional resource under the prevention umbrella of the FAP is the New Parent Support Program (NPSP),” said Maj. Tameshia Tufts, 628th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron family advocacy officer in charge. “During this time, families that are pregnant or parents of infants up to 3 years old are eligible for our NPSP and can receive support from our Family Advocacy Nurses (FANs). Our FANs provide lactation consultation and support with growth and development among other educational information. We are also offering stress and anger management sessions under our prevention umbrella.”
According to Tufts, the FAP is still taking referrals and providing clinical assessments and treatment for families in need.
“If someone is experiencing abuse it’s important for them to know they are not alone and help is available,” said Sevigney. “It will not destroy your career or even your partners career to seek help. Family advocacy provides treatment, not punishment.”
If you think you or someone you know may be a victim of domestic abuse, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE, or the DAVA hotline, which is available 24/7, at 843-310-1884.