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NEWS | Jan. 18, 2012

New Victim Advocate - Victim Privilege: [Military Rule of Evidence (M.R.E.) 514]

By 628th Air Base Wing Legal Office

If you are a victim who has suffered direct physical or emotional harm as the result of a sexual or violent offense, you may claim the new Victim Advocate-Victim Privilege under Military Rule of Evidence (M.R.E.) 514. This is true even if you make an unrestricted report of a sexual assault.

By claiming this privilege, you have the right to refuse to disclose and prevent any other person from disclosing a confidential communication made between you and a victim advocate in a case arising under the Uniform Code of Military Justice if the communication was made for the purpose of facilitating advice or supportive assistance to the victim.

To claim the privilege, you must have consulted with a Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program victim advocate or a domestic violence victim advocate with the Family Advocacy Program. Your communication must have also been made for the purpose of facilitating advice or supportive assistance and you must intend that your communication with a victim advocate not be disclosed to a third party. Your perpetrator must also be military member.

If you tell anyone about what you discussed with a victim advocate, you will waive the ability to claim the Victim Advocate-Victim Privilege.

Also, the Victim Advocate-Victim Privilege does not protect all communications, including communications that clearly contemplate the future commission of a fraud or crime or where the victim advocate's services are sought to enable or aid anyone to commit a fraud or crime. Communications between a victim and a victim advocate may also be disclosed when ensuring the safety of others, including the victim, is necessary.

If you believe you have been a victim of a sexual assault, contact the SARC at either 963-7272 (office) or 817-8397 (cell). If you have questions regarding the new Victim Advocate-Victim privilege under M.R.E. 514, contact the base legal office at 963-5502.