CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Zero tolerance is the message Marine Corps Base Camp Butler leaders are sending out about domestic violence.

And while an official declined to disclose the number of cases the camp’s family advocacy office handles, another said the problem isn’t prevalent among Marines on the island in part because of the Corps’ screening program.

“Married Marines are screened before they are permitted to do overseas duty,” said spokesman Gunnery Sgt. Charles Albrecht. “Marines with family issues typically aren’t sent over.”

The Corps screens couples due to the stresses associated with overseas duty such as separation from family and close friends, said Kerry Maldiner, Marine Corps Community Services’ Family Advocacy Program supervisor. “As a result, we see much less severity in the incidents and the type of incidents reported.”

But even one domestic violence incident is too much, she said.

Maldiner would not comment on the number of cases handled by her staff but said, “Our agency wouldn’t exist if there wasn’t a need to provide these services.”

The Defense Department reported a worldwide average of 29.1 cases of domestic violence per 1,000 military couples in 1998. By fiscal 2004 the ratio had dropped to 23.5 per 1,000 couples.

Maldiner said “zero tolerance” is the objective set by Camp Butler commander Gen. Mary Anne Krusa-Dossin.

The goal is to prevent domestic violence before it starts, Maldiner said, so the program provides education, counseling and prevention services.

Those seeking help have numerous options, she said.

“Call Family Advocacy. Call the command. Tell someone,” she said. A Marine Corps order mandates that all suspected domestic violence be reported.

Every service has family advocacy-type programs, Albrecht said.

Kadena Air Base’s 18th Services Squadron sponsors a Joint Services Family Shelter on island as well as DSN crisis intervention lines at 634-4357 and 634-2273, according to its Web site.

In 2001, the DOD Task Force on Domestic Violence gave Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld 59 recommendations, according to the Armed Forces Information Service. Education and training figured strongly in many of them.

For more information or help on Okinawa, call:

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now