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Increasing Your Safety: Full Faith and Credit for Protection Orders

NCJ Number
Date Published
19 pages

This guide poses and answers practical questions that are important for anyone who has, or plans to seek, a protection order and may travel across county, State, territorial, tribal, or international lines, on to military installations, or within U.S. maritime jurisdictions.


The information provided is intended to assist the reader in understanding the "full-faith-and-credit" provision of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Under VAWA, a "protection order" is defined as "...any injunction, restraining order, or any other order issued by a civil or criminal court for the purpose of preventing violent or threatening acts or harassment against, sexual violence, or contact or communication with or physical proximity to, another person..." The "full-faith-and-credit" provision of VAWA states that a valid protection order issued in one State, tribe, or territory must be enforced throughout the country. The guide explains what constitutes a valid protection order and provides practical tips for implementing a protection order; enforcement of the protection order; dealing with law enforcement, prosecutors, and courts; relocating to a new jurisdiction; and international moves or leaving the United States. Other issues addressed in the guide pertain to immigration or citizenship, confidentiality, Internet prohibition, child custody, and restrictions on firearm use and possession. The guide concludes with a section on frequently asked questions, advice on safety planning, and a list of resources for various categories of protection-order issues.

Date Published: January 1, 2011