Home : Resources : Sexual Assault Investigations : Reporting Options

In the military, there are several options for reporting a sexual assault. You may choose to report a sexual assault when you are ready. However, the sooner the sexual assault is reported to NCIS, the more quickly NCIS can begin investigating the report and collecting any perishable evidence.

What are my Reporting Options? 

Unrestricted Reporting

Reporting option that allows victims to disclose, without requesting confidentiality or Restricted Reporting, that he or she is the victim of a sexual assault. Upon making an Unrestricted Report, the victim’s command is notified and the information is reported to law enforcement (NCIS). Victims may also report directly to NCIS. Victims electing Unrestricted Reporting may access all services available to those choosing a Restricted Report, and may request additional protective and support measures such as an expedited transfer or a military protective order (MPO). NCIS will initiate an investigation into any Unrestricted Report received, but the victim’s decision to meet with NCIS and participate in the investigation is always voluntary.

Restricted Reporting

Reporting option that allows sexual assault victims to confidentially disclose the assault to specified individuals and receive medical treatment, including emergency care, counseling, and assignment of a Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) and Victim Advocate, without triggering an investigation. Restricted Reporting is available to victims of intimate partner sexual abuse through the Family Advocacy Program (FAP). Victims may also speak confidentially with Victims’ Legal Counsel (VLC) or a Chaplain, but only a SARC, FAP Provider, Victim Advocate, or healthcare personnel may receive a formal Restricted Report. With Restricted Reporting, the victim’s official report will NOT be shared with law enforcement or with the command.

Independent Reporting

Reporting option for someone other than a victim, such as a friend, co-worker, commander, or mandatory reporter, to report a sexual assault to law enforcement.  In the military, a victim’s disclosure of sexual assault to another person may result in notification to the command and/or NCIS.  Additionally, military commanders have a duty to contact NCIS when they learn of a sexual assault. Whether a victim files a Restricted Report or no report at all, it is possible NCIS may receive an Independent Report and contact the victim to schedule an interview. At that time, the victim may choose to meet with NCIS and provide a statement, or they may decline to participate in the investigation. Victims who do not wish to participate in the investigation will be asked to sign a Victim Preference Statement, ideally after consulting with a VLC and/or Victim Advocate. Once a victim signs this document, NCIS will let the victim know whether the investigation will be closed or if it will continue, as NCIS has a duty to continue the investigation until all logical steps have been completed. Victims who sign a Victim Preference Statement may change their mind about case participation at any time and can choose to provide information for the investigation at a later date. In that event, however, the delay may affect the investigative findings and the potential successful prosecution of the suspect.

CATCH Program

Reporting option that allows eligible victims to anonymously disclose details about their sexual assault to law enforcement and to learn if the suspect has been accused in other reports of sexual assault. The details provided by the victim will be compared to other reports in the CATCH program and to other law enforcement databases. If the entry appears to match with another report, a SARC, FAP Provider, or Victim Advocate will privately notify the victim of the match. The victim can then decide whether to change their reporting preference, if initially a Restricted report to Unrestricted, and to participate in the investigation of the suspected offender. Victims interested in the CATCH program should speak with a SARC or FAP Provider about program eligibility and access. For more information on the CATCH program, please visit https://www.sapr.mil/CATCH.

How do I report a Sexual Assault directly to NCIS?

Victims of sexual assault are welcome to make a report directly to NCIS. When you report directly to NCIS, we will assist you in receiving support services through a SARC or FAP Counselor, and will notify those in a “need to know” position in the command (typically the O-6 level Commanding Officer).

Visit or call a local NCIS office.  Click here to see the location, address and phone number of each NCIS Field Office. If you do not see an office in your specific location, please call the closest NCIS Field Office to you and we will make arrangements for an agent to speak with you. If you have been assigned a SARC, FAP Counselor, Victim Advocate, or VLC, they can also assist you in making contact with NCIS.

Submit a Tip to NCIS.  NCIS Tips is a web and mobile application that can be used to safely, discreetly, and anonymously report criminal activity and force protection threats affecting the Navy and Marine Corps. NCIS Tips is also an alternative method to report sexual assault directly to NCIS. Click here to file a report anytime and anywhere, include your contact information, and an NCIS agent will contact you to schedule an interview and gather more information about your report.