Get Help for Civil Suits Against the U.S. Military

We know how difficult reaching out for help can be, and we want to take a moment to acknowledge all you have been through and what you are seeking to do given what you have experienced.

While we are so glad that you are on your journey towards finding supportive services, our organizational purview is limited to assisting criminal cases involving sexual assault and sexual harassment within the military justice system, and we are unable to assist with civil lawsuits against the military. 

There currently are limited options to sue the military due to the Feres Doctrine, which precludes service members (past and present) from bringing a lawsuit against the military for any wrongful injury or death that may occur “incident to service.” 

Important reforms have begun to expand the options service members have to seek redress for harms incurred in service.  For example, the Stayskal Act enables service members to sue the military for instances of medical malpractice performed by a military physician, hospital, or clinic that occurred in 2017 and onward. It is important to note that there is a 2 year statute of limitations, and more information can be found here.

There are organizations and elected officials who are working to change the processes and statutes with regard to bringing claims against an individual or institution. You can read more about the pursuit of reform here and here. Additionally, in 2019 the New York state legislature signed into law the Child Victims Act, and in 2022, they signed into law the Adult Survivors Act (ASA), that Protect Our Defenders was proud to endorse.

If you are interested in engaging with your member of Congress in pursuit of continued reform, we would encourage you to write a Congressional encouraging an amendment to the Feres Doctrine to allow for service member survivors of military sexual assault and sexual harassment to sue their employer, the U.S. military. For a guide on how best to engage with your member of Congress, you can visit the ACLU’s webpage on how to effectively communicate with an elected official. Additionally, you can use the following links to determine the appropriate member of Congress to reach out to:

We encourage you to visit POD’s Survivor Support Network, which we have set up to help survivors locate services that may be helpful, including counseling, support groups, and legal services. 

At POD we are engaged in an ongoing struggle to reform the broken military justice system. If you would like to be kept up to date on our progress, you can do so through signing up for our newsletter. You may also wish to share your story on our website.*Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.