How do I write an Army counseling statement for spousal abuse? | – Leader Development for Army Professionals

How do I write an Army counseling statement for spousal abuse?

I have a Soldier who was picked up on spousal abuse charges. Do you have an example of how to write this counseling? I've never written one before. What do I have to do to make sure it doesn't get kicked back by legal?

You are wise to do your homework first. This is a sensitive issue and the counseling statements need to be reviewed by senior leaders before the Soldier sees them–the session may even need to be conducted by a senior individual in the chain of command like the CO, XO, platoon sergeant, or platoon leader.

There are several questions that should be asked:

  1. Was anyone injured? If so what was severity of the injuries?
  2. Has the Chain of Command instituted a cooling-off period to keep the individuals apart for approximately 72 hours?
  3. Has the spouse requested the Soldier be kept away?
  4. Is the marriage repairable?
  5. Have the Soldier and spouse been offered the opportunity to speak with a counselor, chaplain, or a specialist who deals with abuse?

Depending on the situation, the counseling may need to contain some or all of the following elements:

  1. A no-contact/protective order.
  2. If a conviction of domestic violence is likely, a counseling containing the Lautenberg amendment should be completed.
  3. A report of derogatory information maybe required to the BN S-2.

Ensure that everyone is treated fairly. Make sure you know both sides of the story. Do not jump to conclusions and do not take sides. Ensure you treat both parties with respect. Remember this is a difficult time for the family.

Protective order example

A protective order should be given by a commander or executive officer. Example:

This is a direct order given to PVT Snuffy. You are hereby ordered to refrain from any and all actions that could result in a domestic violence charge against you. This includes but is not limited to, emotional abuse, physical abuse, and attempts of any nature that could promote or lead to a situation of domestic violence. You are also not to participate in any acts (such as drinking, yelling, making harassing phone calls, etc.) that could lead to an allegation of domestic violence. If at any time I am informed by formal charges or informally on a sworn statement by a reliable source, I may consider imposing UCMJ action against you for willfully disobeying a superior commissioned officer (article 90), failure to obey order or regulation (article 92), disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and discipline (article 134).

This protection order will remain in effect until revoked by any future company commanders or myself. This order will remain in effect indefinitely, until you and your spouse come to agreements and the Family Advocacy Counselor also agrees to all terms. It is your responsibility to ensure that you take care of your family matters. You need to take care of your family in the most responsible and appropriate way. Use these programs to improve your situation, show me effort. I will not tolerate abuse of any kind. If you do not come to an agreement or show improvement I may initiate a bar to reenlistment for failure to manage personal, marital, or family affairs. In addition, I may consider requesting that the post commander bar your spouse from the limits of the post, and/or remove you and your family from post quarters if applicable, _____ (Soldiers Initials)

Lautenberg counseling example

Consult AR 600-20 to learn more about the Lautenberg Amendment. A Lautenberg counseling should be given by a commander or executive officer. Example:

PVT Snuffy, on or about TIME/DATE a complaint or report was made through military or civilian law enforcement that an act of domestic violence may have occurred. This counseling serves to provide you with the information concerning a possible conviction of a domestic violence charge and that depending on the outcome of the investigation the commander can choose to punish you under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. I have provided you an information paper to read concerning incidents of this nature. Ensure you read it and ask questions as necessary. In addition, I am willing to help you set up an appointment with JAG, IG or other agencies that may be of assistance.

Initial that you have received the information paper and that you understand the importance of reading the information contained in the document_____(initials)

Read The Mentor: Everything you need to know about leadership and counseling for more information about Counseling, Leadership, Corrective Training, and Separations in the Army.

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posted on 07/29/2011 under Q&A
Mark is a Retired Command Sergeant Major with 26 years of military leadership experience. He held 3 military occupational specialties (Field Artillery, Nuclear Weapons Tech, and Ammunition Ordnance). Mark is one of the leading military authors in the fields of leadership, counseling, and training.

Disclaimer: Though all content posted on is reviewed by our qualified subject matter experts, you should not make decisions based solely on the information contained in this post. Use information from multiple sources when making important professional decisions. This is not an official government website.

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