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My Coast Guard
Commentary | Feb. 17, 2023

Non-Chargeable Convalescent Leave is a new option for servicemembers recovering from sexual assault 

In January, the Coast Guard added an amendment for “Non-Chargeable Convalescent Leave” to Military Assignments and Authorized Absences, COMDTINST M1000.8A. The amendment broadens efforts that ensure victims of sexual assault receive meaningful recovery services. 

Granting convalescent leave to support a service member's treatment and recuperation from sexual assault reaffirms the Coast Guard’s commitment to recovery. A medical professional, mental health provider, or Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examiner (SAMFE) must initiate recommended convalescent leave. The service member’s commanding officer or officer in charge must then approve the leave request. The leave may begin immediately once the service member is released from a medical facility, they complete a sexual assault forensic examination (SAFE), and/or completing an appointment with a mental health care provider (after the sexual assault incident is reported).

There is no limit to the cumulative amount of non-chargeable convalescent leave available to survivors who need it. Lindsay Charles, Sexual Assault Prevention, Response and Recovery (SAPRR) Oversight & Policy Office Chief (CG-114), said, “Every survivor is unique, as is their path toward recovery. This policy is flexible enough to support survivors who need additional time to aid their healing process, whether that is immediately following an assault or any time thereafter.”

Michelle Underwood, SAPRR Program Manager, said, “Ultimately, the Coast Guard is only as mission ready as its workforce, and policies like unrated time and now non-chargeable convalescent leave for victims of sexual assault, are a reflection of how important each member is to the team. My hope is that survivors see the Coast Guard as a place where healing in the aftermath of sexual assault can happen.”

For more information about the policy, please see the Update to Military Assignments and Authorized Absences ALCOAST 067/23.