Since September 11, 2001, over 2.7 million U.S. military personnel have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.1 Many military service members, including Reserve and National Guard, have deployed multiple times to war zones over the past decade. Some have returned with visible and invisible injuries that have significantly affected them and their families.

Studies report Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) rates at between 5% and 20%.2 Communities throughout the country are grappling with the aftermath of war and how to serve military personnel, veterans, and their families effectively with sensitivity to the experiences they have had and the issues they face. In recent years, criminal justice diversionary programs, including Veterans Treatment Courts, have been developed in large part for military personnel and veterans whose offenses can be connected to military-related mental health and substance abuse issues.

The Building an Effective Civilian Response to Combat-Related PTSD and IPV Project involves working with community stakeholders to identify an appropriate criminal justice response to IPV incidents involving military personnel and veterans. An effective response includes comprehensive screening and assessing for IPV and co-occurring conditions such as PTSD, traumatic brain injury, substance abuse, and depression and determining the most effective interventions. It also requires that all intervening service providers are cross-trained on the issues of IPV and co-occurring conditions and that communication and coordination between agencies is initiated and institutionalized.

Project staff will provide technical assistance upon request to veteran’s court staff and judges, military and community-based advocates, community-based and VA mental health and substance abuse providers, batterer intervention program staff, etc. on co-occurring IPV and combat-related conditions, such as PTSD, and effective responses.

1. Veterans Health Administration, “Analysis of VA Health Care Utilization among Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), and Operation New Dawn (OND) Veterans,” Jan 2015.

2. Ramchand R, et al., “Disparate prevalence estimates of PTSD among service members who served in Iraq and Afghanistan: possible explanations,” J Trauma Stress, 2010;23(1).