Protect Our Defenders is the only national human rights organization dedicated to combating the epidemic of sexual assault and sexual harassment in the US military, and to ensuring justice for survivors. Pro-bono lawyers and staff provide free, direct legal assistance to survivors (locally and nationally) as they face retaliatory discharges, errant medical diagnoses, privacy violations, and other unjust consequences of reporting assault. Meanwhile, POD fights the culture of harassment in the military through military training and prevention programs and by leveraging the power of survivor stories in the media and in congressional meetings and testimonies. Legal challenges in military court and extensive policy advocacy let POD expand legal protections for survivors and enforce their rights. Our service members deserve a justice system worthy of the American principles they dedicate their lives to protect.
COVID-19 Update: POD continues to educate the public, provide groundbreaking research reports, lead in successfully changing laws, and provide pro bono legal services annually to over 200 active-duty members, their families, veterans, and civilians who are survivors of sexual harassment, assault and discrimination. It has transitioned entirely to remote engagement and is working creatively to determine the most appropriate resources for clients.
Headquarters: VA-Fairfax County
Where They Operate: DC-Citywide; MD-Statewide; VA-Statewide
Age Groups Served: All
Population(s) Served: Veterans/Military Families
- Played a pivotal role in changing MJIA and NDAA legislation:
19 reforms to-date
- Free casework or legal representation through pro bono attorneys:
More than 1,000 survivors served
- Held military accountable through groundbreaking reports:
2 reports resulted in legal remedies. Our report on Racial Disparity in military justice resulted in a GAO investigation.
Awards & Recognition
- Bad Santa: Pentagon releases report on sexual harassment at Navy's boozy Christmas bash
Fri Oct 12 2018, USA Today
The Navy's top officer was rebuked over mishandling of a case involving misconduct of an aide at a boozy party...
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