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Legal Information: Federal

Domestic Violence in the Military

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Laws current as of June 21, 2024

What protections can I get in a military protective order (MPO)?

The MPO can make the Service member do certain things and can also prohibit certain behaviors. MPOs may order the abuser, referred to as “the subject,” to:

  • have no contact or communication with you or members of your family or household, including:
    • face-to-face;
    • by telephone;
    • in writing;
    • by email;
    • through social media; or
    • through a third party;
  • stay away from the family home, whether it is on or off the installation;
  • stay away from your children’s schools, child development centers, youth programs, and your place of employment;
  • move into government quarters (barracks);
  • leave any public place if you are in the same location or facility;
  • do certain activities or stop doing certain activities;
  • attend counseling; and
  • surrender his/her government-issued weapons.1

Commanders may tailor the order to meet your specific needs so be sure to let the commander know what would best protect you.1

Civilian abusers are not subject to MPOs. They may only be subject to a civil protection order (CPO) issued by a state or tribal court. However, an installation commander can bar the civilian abuser from the installation, which could help to protect you if you live on the installation.1

Make sure that you get a copy of the MPO from the commanding officer so that you are aware of restrictions placed on the Service member. It is important you have it with you at all times.

1 See Department of Defense Instruction, Number 6400.06