10 U.S. Code § 1044e - Special Victims’ Counsel for victims of sex-related offenses

(a) Designation; Purposes.— The Secretary concerned shall designate legal counsel (to be known as “Special Victims’ Counsel”) for the purpose of providing legal assistance to an individual eligible for military legal assistance under section 1044 of this title who is the victim of an alleged sex-related offense, regardless of whether the report of that offense is restricted or unrestricted.
(b) Types of Legal Assistance Authorized.— The types of legal assistance authorized by subsection (a) include the following:
(1) Legal consultation regarding potential criminal liability of the victim stemming from or in relation to the circumstances surrounding the alleged sex-related offense and the victim’s right to seek military defense services.
(2) Legal consultation regarding the Victim Witness Assistance Program, including—
(A) the rights and benefits afforded the victim;
(B) the role of the Victim Witness Assistance Program liaison and what privileges do or do not exist between the victim and the liaison; and
(C) the nature of communication made to the liaison in comparison to communication made to a Special Victims’ Counsel or a legal assistance attorney under section 1044 of this title.
(3) Legal consultation regarding the responsibilities and support provided to the victim by the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, a unit or installation Sexual Assault Victim Advocate, or domestic abuse advocate, to include any privileges that may exist regarding communications between those persons and the victim.
(4) Legal consultation regarding the potential for civil litigation against other parties (other than the Department of Defense).
(5) Legal consultation regarding the military justice system, including (but not limited to)—
(A) the roles and responsibilities of the trial counsel, the defense counsel, and investigators;
(B) any proceedings of the military justice process in which the victim may observe;
(C) the Government’s authority to compel cooperation and testimony; and
(D) the victim’s responsibility to testify, and other duties to the court.
(6) Accompanying the victim at any proceedings in connection with the reporting, military investigation, and military prosecution of the alleged sex-related offense.
(7) Legal consultation regarding eligibility and requirements for services available from appropriate agencies or offices for emotional and mental health counseling and other medical services;
(8) Legal consultation and assistance—
(A) in personal civil legal matters in accordance with section 1044 of this title;
(B) in any proceedings of the military justice process in which a victim can participate as a witness or other party;
(C) in understanding the availability of, and obtaining any protections offered by, civilian and military protecting or restraining orders; and
(D) in understanding the eligibility and requirements for, and obtaining, any available military and veteran benefits, such as transitional compensation benefits found in section 1059 of this title and other State and Federal victims’ compensation programs.
(9) Such other legal assistance as the Secretary of Defense (or, in the case of the Coast Guard, the Secretary of the Department in which the Coast Guard is operating) may authorize in the regulations prescribed under subsection (h).
(c) Nature of Relationship.— The relationship between a Special Victims’ Counsel and a victim in the provision of legal advice and assistance shall be the relationship between an attorney and client.
(d) Qualifications.— An individual may not be designated as a Special Victims’ Counsel under this section unless the individual—
(1) meets the qualifications specified in section 1044 (d)(2) of this title; and
(2) is certified as competent to be designated as a Special Victims’ Counsel by the Judge Advocate General of the armed force in which the judge advocate is a member or by which the civilian attorney is employed.
(e) Administrative Responsibility.—
(1) Consistent with the regulations prescribed under subsection (h), the Judge Advocate General (as defined in section 801 (1) of this title) under the jurisdiction of the Secretary, and within the Marine Corps the Staff Judge Advocate to the Commandant of the Marine Corps, is responsible for the establishment and supervision of individuals designated as Special Victims’ Counsel.
(2) The Secretary of Defense (and, in the case of the Coast Guard, the Secretary of the Department in which the Coast Guard is operating) shall conduct a periodic evaluation of the Special Victims’ Counsel programs operated under this section.
(f) Availability of Special Victims’ Counsel.—
(1) An individual eligible for military legal assistance under section 1044 of this title who is the victim of an alleged sex-related offense shall be offered the option of receiving assistance from a Special Victims’ Counsel upon report of an alleged sex-related offense or at the time the victim seeks assistance from a Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, a Sexual Assault Victim Advocate, a military criminal investigator, a victim/witness liaison, a trial counsel, a healthcare provider, or any other personnel designated by the Secretary concerned for purposes of this subsection.
(2) The assistance of a Special Victims’ Counsel under this subsection shall be available to an individual eligible for military legal assistance under section 1044 of this title regardless of whether the individual elects unrestricted or restricted reporting of the alleged sex-related offense. The individual shall also be informed that the assistance of a Special Victims’ Counsel may be declined, in whole or in part, but that declining such assistance does not preclude the individual from subsequently requesting the assistance of a Special Victims’ Counsel.
(g) Alleged Sex-related Offense Defined.— In this section, the term “alleged sex-related offense” means any allegation of—
(1) a violation of section 920, 920a, 920b, 920c, or 925 of this title (article 120, 120a, 120b, 120c, or 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice); or
(2) an attempt to commit an offense specified in a paragraph (1) as punishable under section 880 of this title (article 80 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice).
(h) Regulations.— The Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of the Department in which the Coast Guard is operating shall prescribe regulations to carry out this section.

Source

(Added Pub. L. 113–66, div. A, title XVII, § 1716(a)(1),Dec. 26, 2013, 127 Stat. 966.)
Implementation

Pub. L. 113–66, div. A, title XVII, § 1716(a)(4),Dec. 26, 2013, 127 Stat. 969, provided that: “Section 1044e of title 10, United States Code, as added by paragraph (1), shall be implemented within 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act [Dec. 26, 2013].”
Enhanced Training Requirement

Pub. L. 113–66, div. A, title XVII, § 1716(b),Dec. 26, 2013, 127 Stat. 969, provided that: “The Secretary of each military department, and the Secretary of Homeland Security with respect to the Coast Guard when it is not operating as a service in the Department of the Navy, shall implement, consistent with the guidelines provided under section 1044e of title 10, United States Code, as added by subsection (a), in-depth and advanced training for all military and civilian attorneys providing legal assistance under section 1044 or 1044e of such title to support victims of alleged sex-related offenses.”

 

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