NEWS | May 4, 2021

Program provides legal services for survivors of interpersonal violence, sexual assault

By David DeKunder 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Survivors of interpersonal violence and sexual assault can seek legal assistance through a pilot program at Joint Base San Antonio specializing in protecting their rights and guiding them through the legal process.

The Interpersonal Violence Victims’ Legal Services Pilot Program, or IPV, provides legal services to members of the military community who are survivors of dating, domestic or workplace violence or sexual assault.

The program is open to all active duty Airmen and Guardians who are stationed at JBSA if the offender was subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or UCMJ, at the time of the offense and at the time services are requested. Dependents, Reservists, Guardsmen and civilian employees may be able to receive services, depending on circumstances. 

Interpersonal violence cases include those in which the intentional use of violence and power injures a victim physically and psychologically.

The violence is perpetrated by someone the victim knows and has a personal relationship with, an intimate partner, a co-worker or in the case of domestic violence, a parent or someone who lives in the same household.

Staff Sgt. Donald Guy, JBSA-Fort Sam Houston special victims’ paralegal, said military members can make an appointment to seek legal services through the IPV program by contacting the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Special Victims’ Counsel Office at 210-221-3796 or 850-404-9101.

Appointments can also be conducted via Zoom teleconference on Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 a.m. to noon; and Thursday, 10-11 a.m., using meeting ID 729 3835 5548, passcode IPVPilot.

At JBSA-Lackland, IPV program appointments can be conducted via Zoom Monday-Friday, from 11 a.m. to noon, using meeting ID 923 4573 3456, passcode walk-ins, or by contacting the Department of the Air Force Special Victims’ Division special victims’ paralegal at 210-842-0890.

Guy said the appointments provide qualifying survivors of interpersonal violence and sexual assault with a one on one consultation with a special victims’ counsel, who provides confidential legal advice, informs survivors of their rights under the law and provides information and referral to victims’ support services.

Capt. Celene Delice, JBSA-Fort Sam Houston and JBSA-Randolph Special Victims’ Counsel, said a special victims’ counsel is an advocate for the survivors of interpersonal violence and sexual assault who provide guidance and help protect the rights of the survivors throughout the legal process.

As a survivor seeks legal options, Delice said as a special victims’ counsel she can provide them advice on the investigative and prosecutorial stages of their case and, for sexual assault victims, represent them during interviews and hearings conducted by military or civilian law enforcement authorities and during a trial, if needed, making sure their rights are protected every step of the way.

In addition, Delice said she can help clients of the IPV program with other services, such as referring them to other legal representation and other supporting agencies if needed.

The IPV program also accepts referrals of survivors of interpersonal violence and sexual assault from the victim witness assistance program coordinator with the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston 502nd Force Support Group Legal Office and sexual assault response coordinators or victim advocate from the JBSA Sexual Assault Prevention Response program.

JBSA is one of 10 Air Force installations across the U.S. that are participating in the IPV program, whose objective is to expand legal services and representation to more military personnel and community members who seek it.