NCPOFFC: Tools and Resources for Attorneys and Advocates  

By the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit

The process of obtaining a protection order and getting it enforced across jurisdictional lines can be daunting and complicated for a survivor. It is imperative that advocates and attorneys understand the laws that apply to these processes so that they can properly advise survivors about potential responses from law enforcement, prosecutors, and the courts. All practitioners should familiarize themselves with the full faith and credit provision of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). VAWA affords important protections for survivors who cross state or tribal lines – whether to go to work, visit relatives, or seek safe haven from abuse.

The full faith and credit provision is designed to ensure that valid protection orders are enforced in each and every jurisdiction. Simply stated, full faith and credit means that a valid protection order issued in one jurisdiction is enforceable in all other states, tribal lands, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam. Thus, if an abuser travels across state or tribal lines and violates a protection order issued against them, the abuser can be arrested and punished under the laws of the jurisdiction where the violation occurred.

The following resources are designed to assist advocates and attorneys facilitate the service and enforcement of protection orders across jurisdictional lines.

Full Faith and Credit Statutory Matrix

The full faith and credit provision is not self-implementing. Practitioners must be familiar with the full faith and credit legislation and procedures in their jurisdiction to assist survivors facilitate enforcement of their order. All states and many tribes have created laws, known as enabling legislation or enforcement protocols, to facilitate the enforcement of protection orders issued by other jurisdictions. The full faith and credit matrix provides practitioners with information on the relevant laws of their jurisdiction.

Full Faith and Credit Statute with Definitions, 18 U.S.C. §§ 2265-2266

This resource consists of the full faith and credit provision of VAWA, 18 U.S.C. §2265, and the applicable definitions from 18 U.S.C. § 2266.

Full Faith and Credit for Protection Orders: Assisting Survivors with Enforcement Across Jurisdictional Line

This guide provides pertinent information on full faith and credit as well as the issuance and enforcement of protection orders.  The publication contains answers to commonly asked questions including what types of orders are enforced; how orders are enforced; and issues surrounding registration. Additional tips for advocates on firearm issues, risk assessment, and safety planning are also provided.

Increasing Your Safety: Full Faith and Credit for Protection Orders

This guide is intended to assist survivors who have or plan to seek a protection order. It provides information on a wide variety of topics, including protection order enforcement, safety planning, and firearm removal.

Safety Envelope

The Safety Envelope provides advocates with a tool to aid enforcement. The advocate or petitioner fills out each section of the envelope and encloses a copy of the protection order inside. In the event the order is misplaced, the information on the envelope provides enough data for law enforcement to verify its existence. Advocates can create a hard copy of the Safety Envelope using the English or Spanish templates.

State Protection Order Statutes: No Fee for Filing, Issuance, Registration and Service of Process.

VAWA “No Fee” Toolkit

This toolkit and statutory summary were created for advocates to help ensure victims do not bear the costs associated with civil and criminal domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking cases.

Firearm Checklist for Advocates

An abuser who is subject to an order of protection or who has been convicted of a domestic violence-related misdemeanor crime may be prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms and ammunition by the federal Gun Control Act and/or state law. Advocates can use the firearms checklist to facilitate conversations with survivors regarding firearm safety issues.

Protection Order Registration Statutes

Filing or registering a protection order from another jurisdiction can help facilitate enforcement. If the order is entered in the enforcing jurisdiction’s registry, it may be accessible to law enforcement officers even if a paper copy is not readily available. The registry can also verify an order that does not appear valid on its face. However, in some circumstances, it may not be advisable for a petitioner to file or register a protection order if the petitioner wants to keep his or her location confidential. Practitioners should familiarize themselves with their jurisdiction's voluntary registration procedures, as well as its risks and benefits. The registration matrix provides practitioners with statutory information from each jurisdiction.

The National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit (NCPOFFC) promotes and facilitates the implementation of the full faith and credit provision of VAWA by raising public awareness of the statute’s requirements and providing training and technical assistance to individuals, organizations, and communities. The center also offers a variety of resources to help facilitate uniform responses and clear direction on full faith and credit issues and the issuance and enforcement of protection orders.

For technical assistance and additional resources, please contact NCPOFFC at (800) 903-0111, prompt 2, or email:, or visit our website:

This project was supported by Grant No. 15JOVW-21-GK-02253-MUMU 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.

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