The now law NDAA for 2021 has a number of provisions including this one. If you are not aware, compassion fatigue is a real thing even for lawyers, more for defense counsel and SVC’s than prosecutors. If you have compassion fatigue that can adversely affect your court-room work as well as relationships with others in the court-martial process.
Congress wants the Secretary of Defense take a look at this issue.
SEC. 546. BRIEFING ON MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT FOR VICARIOUS TRAUMA FOR CERTAIN PERSONNEL IN THE MILITARY JUSTICE SYSTEM.
(a) Briefing Required.–Not later than 180 days after the date of
the enactment of this Act, the Judge Advocates General of the Army, the
Navy, and the Air Force and the Staff Judge Advocate to the Commandant
of the Marine Corps shall jointly brief the Committees on Armed
Services of the Senate and the House of Representatives on the mental
health support for vicarious trauma provided to personnel in the
military justice system specified in subsection (b).
(b) Personnel.–The personnel specified in this subsection are the
(1) Court-martial convening authorities who are members of the
(2) Trial counsel.
(3) Defense counsel.
(4) Military judges.
(5) Special Victims’ Counsel.
(6) Military investigative personnel.
(c) Elements.–The briefing required by subsection (a) shall
include the following:
(1) A description and assessment of the mental health support
for vicarious trauma provided to personnel in the military justice
system specified in subsection (b), including a description of the
support services available and the support services being used.
(2) A description and assessment of mechanisms to eliminate or
reduce stigma in the pursuit by such personnel of such mental
(3) An assessment of the feasibility and advisability of
providing such personnel with breaks between assignments or cases
as part of such mental health support in order to reduce the
effects of vicarious trauma.
(4) A description and assessment of the extent, if any, to
which duty of such personnel on particular types of cases, or in
particular caseloads, contributes to vicarious trauma, and of the
extent, if any, to which duty on such cases or caseloads has an
effect on retention of such personnel in the Armed Forces.
(5) A description of the extent, if any, to which such
personnel are screened or otherwise assessed for vicarious trauma
before discharge or release from the Armed Forces.
(6) Such other matters in connection with the provision of
mental health support for vicarious trauma to such personnel as the
Judge Advocates General and the Staff Judge Advocate jointly