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...

Budget (FY0)

  • $3 million or higher
  • $1 million to $3 million
  • $500k to $1 million
  • Less than $500k

Catalogue charities range in size from $100,000 to $3 million. This graphic indicates the budget range of the organization featured here. If you see an organizational budget above the $3 million mark, that is because the featured charity has grown in size since it first appeared in the Catalogue. We proudly present on our website the work of these "growth" charities.

About the Catalogue for Philanthropy

Each year 120 expert reviewers evaluate applicants for distinction, merit, and impact. Each featured charity has been successfully site visited and its financials given the thumbs up. The Catalogue for Philanthropy charges no fees and raises funds separately to support its work. Since 2003, it has raised over $40 million for charities across the Greater Washington region.

The Catalogue for Philanthropy looks to friends like you to keep our services independent and entirely free of charge. Consider a small contribution to the Catalogue to cap off your gift and help the causes you care about get the full support they deserve!

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