On August 25, 2017, the Department of Defense issued clarifying guidance to Military Discharge Review Boards and Boards for Correction of Military/Naval Records regarding requests by veterans for a discharge upgrade due to mental health conditions (including PTSD and TBI), sexual assault, or sexual harassment.
Requests for discharge relief typically involve four questions:
The new guidance explained that “liberal consideration” would be given to veterans petitioning for discharge relief when the application for relief was based in whole or in part on sexual assault or sexual harassment.
Evidence supporting an incident of sexual assault/harassment could come from the veteran’s service record or from outside sources like “law enforcement authorities, rape crisis centers, mental health counseling centers, hospitals, physicians, pregnancy tests, tests for sexually transmitted diseases, and statements from family members, friends, roommates, co-workers, fellow servicemembers, or clergy.”
“Evidence may also include changes in behavior; requests for transfer to another military duty assignment; deterioration in work performance; inability of the individual to conform their behavior to the expectations of a military environment; substance abuse; episodes of depression, panic attacks, or anxiety without an identifiable cause; unexplained economic or social behavior changes; relationship issues; or sexual dysfunction.”
Discharge Review Boards are not required to find that a crime of sexual assault or an incident of sexual harassment occurred in order to grant liberal consideration to a veteran that the experience happened during military service, was aggravated by military service, or that it excuses or mitigates the discharge.
Our Military Justice Attorneys are experienced in representing active duty servicemembers and veterans before Discharge Review Boards and understand how to gather and persuasively present the best evidence for your case. Call us today for your free consultation.