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Special Victims' Counsel / Victims' Legal Counsel / Victims' Counsel

The legal process for prosecuting sexual assault cases can often be daunting and confusing for victims. Most Judge Advocate General (JAG) officers in the military work for commanders and are required to inform them of incidents that happen within their command. The Department, working with the Services, has created a legal support function for victims of sexual assault that provides legal advice and guidance, and maintains a victim's confidentiality. A victim can access this support whether they file a Restricted or Unrestricted Report, even if they have not yet made an official report.

The Army, National Guard, and Coast Guard refer to these professionals as Special Victims' Counsel (SVC), while the Navy and Marine Corps have labeled them Victims' Legal Counsel (VLC) and the Air Force names them Victims’ Counsel (VC). These lawyers have experience trying cases in both military and civilian trials. They understand the legal process and guide victims as an alleged offender is brought to trial. For more information, view the DoD’s policy (DTM 14-003) regarding legal support for military victims of sexual assault.

For more information about the Services' SVC, VLC, or VC programs, please visit:

In addition, the Military Departments established their respective Office of Special Trial Counsel (OSTC) to independently evaluate covered criminal allegations, effectively prosecute cases warranted by the evidence, and promote trust in the military justice system.

Pursuant to the FY22 NDAA (Public Law 117-81), the OSTCs reached full operational capacity on December 27, 2023. President Biden issued Executive Order 14103 on July 28, 2023, making necessary changes to the Manual for Courts-Martial to implement the reformed military justice system.

For more information about the Services’ OSTC, please visit: