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VCLO implemented to preserve victim’s rights

26 Nov 2013 | Lance Cpl. Brendan Roethel Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort

To support victims of sexual assault and other crimes, the Marine Corps has put in place the Victims’ Legal Counsel Organization. The VLCO’s implementation is detailed in Marine administrative message 583/13, which took effect, Nov. 1.


   The organization will provide legal advice and   representation to victims to help protect their rights at all stages of the military justice process. VLCO services will supplement, not replace, other victim services such as the Family Advocacy Program, the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program, Uniformed Victim Advocates, and other services.


   Victims’ legal counsel     services are intended for active duty military members, reservists on active duty, and other eligible victims as resources permit.


   “We will fully advise victims of their rights, and when detailed, will represent victims in court,” said Capt. Dustin Whetsel, the victim’s legal counselor aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island. “We will also provide confidential legal assistance to victims of crime.”


   Upon seeking assistance from a SAPR coordinator, UVA, FAP, military criminal investigator, victim/witness liaison or coordinator, or trial counsel, all eligible victims will be given the opportunity to consult with a victim legal counselor.


   Crimes committed within the military community, including rape, sexual assault, hazing, and other offenses harm the individuals affected, units, their mission, and the Corps as a whole. To combat victims from being re-victimized when coming forward to seek justice, the VLCO will be made available to fully advise victims of their rights. The MARADMIN explains that the Marine Corps is committed to protecting the rights and interests of all victims, and the VLCO will help ensure proper assistance throughout the process.