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Legal Information: Federal

Domestic Violence in the Military

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Laws current as of October 9, 2019

Are MPOs and civil protective orders (CPOs) valid wherever I go?

Whether or not an order is enforceable wherever you go depends on the type of order.

Military Protective Orders

An MPO will not be directly enforced off the installation by civil courts or civilian police. The civilian police may, however, contact the military law enforcement to refer the case to them for further action. Regardless of whether there is a law enforcement response at the time of the incident, it can still be a violation of a command order to violate an MPO off the installation. It is at the commander’s discretion how to discipline a service member for an MPO violation that takes place off of the installation.1 See What can I do if the abuser violates the MPO? for more information.

Civil Protection Orders

A CPO is enforceable on the military installation. According to military rules, service members are supposed to follow a CPO even while on the installation. Commanders and law enforcement officers are supposed to take “all reasonable measures necessary” to ensure that a CPO is given full force and effect on all installations. Active duty service members who fail to follow a CPO may be subject to administrative and/or disciplinary action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The civil court judge who issued the CPO can also punish the abuser for a violation of the CPO even if it occurred on base. Also, civilians who violate a CPO, including Department of Defense civilian employees, may be barred from the installation.

1 Department of Defense Instruction, Number 6400.06, Incorporating Change 4, May 26, 2017