Reports to the Navy's Family Advocacy Program: Impact of Removal of Mandatory Reporting for Domestic Violence
The impact of mandatory reporting laws on domestic violence reports is unclear. In 2006, the Department of Defense removed its requirement for mandatory reporting of domestic violence against adults. Our objective was to determine if there was a change in the incidence of domestic violence reports to the Navy's Family Advocacy Program after the shift from mandatory reporting to a policy allowing restricted reporting. Reports of domestic violence to the Navy Central Registry between fiscal year (FY) 2000 and 2010 were studied. Frequencies and rates of domestic violence reports, type of abuse, and victim and offender gender were studied. Over the past 11 years, the total number of unrestricted domestic violence reports to the Navy Central Registry has decreased by just over a third. In addition, the number of substantiated reports has decreased by approximately 50%. Since the collection of data on restricted reports in 2008, the aggregated reporting rate of substantiated reports is significantly smaller, 0.87% for FYs 2008 to 2010 compared to 1.34% for FYs 2000 to 2005, p < 0.01. Domestic violence reports to the Navy Central Registry have declined over the past 11 years, even with the removal of the requirement for mandatory reporting of domestic violence.