The Role Of Military Sexual Assault Lawyers In Seeking Justice

Legal 5 Mins Read March 27, 2024 Posted by Barsha Bhattacharya

Sexual assault allegations in the military justice system are treated with the utmost seriousness. A conviction can result in severe consequences, such as being imprisoned for several years, receiving a punitive discharge, and being added to a sex offender registry. Additionally, the convicted individual may experience a loss of pay, allowances, and veteran benefits, further exacerbating the impact of the conviction. It is essential to understand the severity of the situation and the consequences that could arise from a sexual assault allegation in the military justice system.

Legal Advice

With the military?s current climate of political pressure to convict those accused of sexual assault, a defendant must have an experienced and zealous defense attorney. A military sexual assault lawyer can help to navigate the military justice system, educating investigators, commanders, JAGs, convening authorities, and potential court-martial members on the law of rape and sexual assault and the military?s legal process.

False accusations often stem from personal vendettas, miscommunications, or external pressures. A lawyer can help craft a solid defense strategy by analyzing every detail to build a compelling case.

Service members accused of sex crimes may be placed in pretrial confinement pending trial, which can interfere with their ability to prepare for their cases and prevent them from being with loved ones during the most difficult time of their lives. The right to remain silent during questioning by law enforcement is essential; however, cooperating with investigators can lead to additional charges, such as making a false official statement or obstructing justice.

Accusations of sexual assault can have serious consequences for military members. A conviction can lead to years in confinement, a dishonorable discharge, and lifetime sex offender registration. You need professional legal representation whether you?re under investigation or facing charges.

A military sexual assault lawyer can help. We can examine whether investigators followed proper procedure in the case and review any missteps that could result in evidence being tossed out or the charges being dismissed.

The military takes all allegations of sexual assault seriously. They are prosecuted ? regardless of how weak or frivolous they appear. This is partly due to political pressure and the fact that the military has training courses that instruct commanders and noncommissioned officers to get more sexual assault convictions. False accusations can ruin the lives of innocent service members. They can also impact those who depend on them for support, such as children.

Here are some resources that can help:

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE You can also chat online at RAINN’s website: https://www.rainn.org

The Military OneSource website: This website has a directory of attorneys who specialize in military sexual assault cases. You can search by location, branch of service, and area of expertise.

The Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 You can also text 838255. This hotline is available 24/7 and can connect you with a qualified counselor who can provide support and resources.

The National Veterans Legal Services Program: https://www.nvlsp.org/ This organization provides free legal assistance to veterans and their families. They can help you find an attorney who specializes in military sexual assault cases.

The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network: This organization provides legal representation to service members and veterans who have been accused of crimes. They also have a project that provides support to victims of military sexual assault.

The ACLU Military Justice Project: This project works to protect the rights of service members and veterans. They can provide legal representation to victims of military sexual assault.

I hope this information is helpful. Please remember that you are not alone and some people can help you get the support and resources you need.

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Counseling

Counseling

The military justice system can be an insidious force when it comes to sexual assault allegations. The pressure to get service members convicted of these allegations ? even when they are bogus or false ? leads commanders to act on these accusations as orders and implement training courses to increase the number of convictions in these cases.

Service members accused of sexual assault can lose pay, allowances, and veteran benefits, be forced to take time off from work or transfer to a different unit and/or base, and be placed in pretrial confinement pending their court-martial. They can also be placed on a sex offender registry and face years to decades in jail.

Survivors of sexual assault can need protection from the alleged victim, family/friend support, federally available financial assistance, and mental health services, to name just a few examples. A good military lawyer can facilitate these and other types of support.

Here are some resources that will allow you to gain counseling:

Military OneSource: 1-800-342-9647 offers confidential non-medical counseling 24/7 for active duty service members, veterans, and their families.

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE provides confidential support and resources for survivors of sexual assault. You can also chat online at RAINN’s website: https://www.rainn.org

Vet Centers: These VA facilities offer free, confidential counseling and support groups for veterans experiencing trauma, including military sexual assault. Find your nearest center: https://www.va.gov/find-locations/

Remember:

  • You are not alone.
  • Seeking help is a sign of strength.
  • Both counseling and legal resources are available and confidential.

Additional Tips:

  • When searching for a lawyer, look for one who specializes in military sexual assault law.
  • Ask about their experience and success rate in representing survivors.
  • Consider contacting your local bar association for referrals.
  • It’s okay to interview multiple lawyers before choosing one you feel comfortable with.
  • I hope this information helps you find the support and resources you need.

Support

Survivors often feel isolated because of the military culture that depends on unit cohesion and shared identity. They may also face pressure from family and friends to keep the assault secret. This can exacerbate their symptoms and lead to further distress.

During a trial, a military sexual assault lawyer can help the jury set aside those pressures and not just weigh evidence on a scale. In addition, they can fight to make it clear that consent must be given freely and knowingly, not simply in the absence of resistance or protest.

In cases where the alleged victim and perpetrator know each other, examining whether there was true mutual consent is important. Digital evidence can be particularly helpful in these cases. It is also critical to provide psychoeducation on male rape myths and emphasize that even in a sexual encounter, consent must be willingly given. Survivors should also receive guidance on applying for VA disability benefits, which may offer tax-free monthly payments to help with their symptoms and recovery.

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Barsha Bhattacharya is a senior content writing executive. As a marketing enthusiast and professional for the past 4 years, writing is new to Barsha. And she is loving every bit of it. Her niches are marketing, lifestyle, wellness, travel and entertainment. Apart from writing, Barsha loves to travel, binge-watch, research conspiracy theories, Instagram and overthink.

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