A domestic violence protection order (also known as a “stay away order” or “restraining order”) is an order issued by a court in a civil or criminal case for the purpose of preventing violence, threats of violence, harassment, contact with, communication with, or physical proximity to a victim of domestic violence. The Violence Against Women Act of 2005 contains important provisions allowing for recognition and enforcement of qualifying protection orders across tribal, state, and territorial jurisdictions. Under VAWA 2005 (18 U.S. C. §2265), any qualifying protection order issued by the court of one State or Indian Tribe (the issuing State or Indian Tribe) shall be accorded full faith and credit by the court of another State or Indian Tribe (the enforcing State or Indian tribe) and enforced as if it were the order of the enforcing State or Tribe.
VAWA enables victims to seek safety and to travel to other jurisdictions without the added burden of having to obtain new protection orders for every jurisdiction where they may work, pass through, go to school or reside. VAWA applies to both criminal and civil orders and mandates that valid protection orders be enforced across all tribal, state, and territorial jurisdictions.
Ex parte orders (orders issued without notice to the other party) are considered valid as long as the defendant received notice of the protection order and was provided with the opportunity to be heard at a court hearing.
Additional information and technical assistance on protection orders and Full Faith and Credit can be accessed through the National Center for Protection Orders and Full Faith and Credit www.fullfaithandcredit.org
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*National Tribal Trial College is a project of the Southwest Center for Law and Policy (www.swclap.org) This project is supported by Grant No. 2017-SA-AX-K001, awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.