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Civil Protection Orders

Court-issued civil protection orders provide domestic violence victims with important options while influencing batterers to stop the abuse. An integrated and consistent protection order system that coordinates issuing, serving, and enforcing court orders promotes victim safety and helps save lives. The NCJFCJ recognizes that an effective civil protection order system relies upon the interplay and interdependence of each profession’s work; judges, law enforcement, prosecutors, advocates, civil attorneys, and others. We seek to increase the capacity of communities, courts, judges, and related professionals to enhance victim safety and offender accountability through effective protection order practices.

The NCJFCJ works within a network of national organizations to promote improved civil protection order practice. We offer technical assistance to courts, judges, and other professionals to address challenges and emerging needs identified by those involved in the issuance, service, and enforcement of protection orders. In addition, we conduct webinars and workshops on topics concerning protection orders, including custody and visitation, victim autonomy, compliance review, and firearms surrender. We also provide on-site multi-disciplinary training based on an interactive curriculum designed to help communities assist victims with a unified, cohesive, and reliable response. The participatory workshop model for this curriculum brings together the various professionals needed to implement system change and improvement through coordinated community responses. Our roundtables and other structured discussions with judges and justice system professionals explore the challenging issues involving the protection order process and identify possible strategies for addressing those issues. These discussions often lead to the development of new materials or resources for judges and other professionals. Together, the NCJFCJ’s technical assistance, training, and resource development offer courts and communities the opportunity to enhance their ability to safeguard victims of domestic violence, provide for children’s safety and wellbeing through the use of child-related relief in civil protection orders, and hold abusers accountable.


Technical Assistance Bulletin
Child-Related Relief in Protection Orders

 This chart summarizes state statutes that permit a protection order to include an order regarding custody or parenting time, for child support, or for other child-related relief. For child support, only provisions authorizing payments directly…

Resources for Petitioners: Service of Process in Another State

This Technical Assistance Brief provides a summary of resources available regarding the out-of-state service of civil protection orders, petitions, and related court notices and documents.

Technical Assistance Bulletin
Civil Protection Order Process: Considerations for Safe and Effec…

The public health emergency created by the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged courts and communities in unprecedented ways. Of particular concern are the sometimes insurmountable obstacles that many victims of domestic violence and their children encounter…

Case Law Update
Civil Protection Order: Case Law Update for 2019

This document contains summaries of published state court decisions of interest related to civil protection orders, their issuance, and their enforcement for the year 2019. While most of these summaries are brief, containing only the…

Case Law Update
Domestic Violence Rebuttable Presumption: Case Law Update 2018-20…

This document contains summaries of published state court decisions of interest related to a rebuttable presumption against awarding sole or joint custody to a parent who has engaged in domestic violence against the other parent.…

Strategies to Improve the Response to Firearms in Civil Protectio…

This document provides a checklist of strategies for judges to improve the response to firearms in civil protection order cases. Main topics include steps to assemble multi-disciplinary collaborative teams, mapping the civil protection process to…

Firearms and Civil Protection Orders: Answers to Judges' Frequent…

This document answers frequently asked questions relating to firearms and civil protection orders. Main topics include enforcement of jurisdiction and federal protection order laws, suggested collaboration efforts, information regarding a respondent’s access to firearms, addressing…

Annual Report
Reflection & Redefinition: Annual Report 2019

The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges’ (NCJFCJ) 2019 Annual Report, Reflection & Redefinition, looks back at the extraordinary achievements of the NCJFCJ in 2019. The members of the NCJFCJ are the driving…

Spotlight on Promising Practices Around Civil Protection Orders: …

Civil Protection Orders can be a powerful remedy for victims of domestic and sexual violence and stalking. However, when orders are not enforced, they can seem like nothing more than a piece of paper. Ensuring…

Additional Information

Below is a list of links to other TA providers with additional CPO resources:


Part I: The Link Between Animal Abuse and Domestic Violence

This webinar, taught by NCJFCJ Past President Judge John Romero, Jr., Diane Balkin, contract attorney with the Animal Legal Defense Fund, and Kathleen Wood, an attorney with the Animal Legal Defense Fund, will familiarize judges, attorneys, domestic violence advocates, and child-serving professionals with research on the links between animal cruelty and domestic violence. Faculty will also cover statutes and orders that include pets in definitions of domestic violence and in the scope of protection orders and services. Faculty will provide practical guidance on what judges need to know and can do to safeguard humans and pets in domestic violence cases.

NCJFCJ Resources on Animal Abuse and Interpersonal Violence

Individuals interested in the webinars may also find useful two resources that the NCJFCJ has created on the links between animal abuse and interpersonal violence:

Civil Protection Orders and Remote Hearings: A Panel Discussion

This webinar focuses on how five different jurisdictions have used methods such as telephonic and video conferencing to hold hearings for the issuance of and compliance with civil protection orders in the face of the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The panelists include:

  • Chief Magistrate Judge Berryl Anderson, DeKalb Magistrate Court, Decatur, Georgia
  • Administrative Judge Carroll Kelly, Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida, Miami, Florida
  • Chief Unified Family Court Judge Janet Helson, King County Superior Court, Seattle, Washington
  • Stacey Marz, Administrative Director, Alaska Court System
  • Amy Hernandez, Domestic Violence Program Coordinator & Justice Court Program Coordinator, Utah Administrative Office of the Courts

Working with Interpreters in a Court Setting

This webinar was hosted by The National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith and Credit in collaboration with the Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence and the NCJFCJ.

Working with an interpreter is essential to ensuring victim safety for individuals with limited English proficiency in the civil protection order process.

This webinar will provide participants with:

  • Tools and resources needed to effectively work with an interpreter
  • Skills to identify and address problems during interpretation
  • Language access resources to enhance language services for individuals seeking civil protection orders


Moving Beyond the "Honor System": Effective Strategies to Prevent Prohibited Abusers' Access to Firearms

During this webinar, participants will learn about:

  • The factors that render firearm surrender requirements an ”honor system” with no real accountability
  • Practice tips and strategies to move from an “honor system” to a “Culture of Compliance,” with a focus on what can be done at key steps of a civil protection order process

Child-Related Relief in the Context of Civil Protection Orders: Challenges and Opportunities

As a result of this webinar, participants will be better able to:

  • Recognize the significant obstacles to inclusion of effective child-related relief in civil protection orders (CPOs)
  • Describe a set of suggested practices to include in an effective CPO process for addressing child-related relief
  • Employ the suggested practices to assess and enhance their own community’s processes and decision-making regarding child-related relief

Power Within the Paper: Court Responses to Enhance Compliance & Enforcement of CPOs

As a result of this webinar, participants will be better able to:

  • Discuss ways to promote victim safety and batterer accountability by prioritizing civil protection order (CPO) enforcement.
  • Identify and take advantage of opportunities within the CPO process to better prevent and respond to abusers’ access to firearms.
  • Describe the role compliance hearings play in enhancing the system’s response to violations.

Emerging Practices in Information Sharing Between Child Welfare Agencies and Domestic Violence Advocates

Immigrant Survivors of Domestic And Sexual Violence in Your Courtroom: Family Court and Civil Protection Order Cases

This webinar for judicial officials will provide an overview of how immigration issues related to domestic violence intersect with civil proceedings. At the end of this webinar, participants will be better able to:

  • Explain the dynamics of immigration-related abuse
  • Examine how immigration issues may impact judicial proceedings related to DV/SA, including the U visa certification process
  • Assess how criminal and civil findings intersect with an immigration matter

Managing the Impact of the Work and Judicial Self-Care, Part 1


What is the CPO Guide?

The NCJFCJ convened a group of national subject matter experts in 2009 to examine what new guidance was needed to promote improved practices in CPO cases. The group’s efforts culminated in the creation of the Civil Protection Orders: A Guide for Improving Practice (CPO Guide). The document offers a Common Ground segment reflecting overall essential values and details specific guidance by profession.

What are the Common Ground values providing a framework for positive systems change in CPO processes?

The CPO Guide lists the following as universal values for professions:

  • Safety – protecting individuals from harm throughout the process
  • Autonomy – tailored relief that meets individual needs
  • Accessibility – a system that is open without barriers to seeking assistance
  • Competence – qualified, capable assistance available throughout the CPO system
  • Reliability – consistency and dependability within the system
  • Collaboration – CPO systems working from shared goals and prioritizing collaboration
  • Culture and Diversity – CPO systems reflecting the community and responding to specific needs and circumstances
  • Community Engagement – partnership and commitment between courts and communities to provide support/services and safety

What discipline-specific advice does the CPO Guide provide?

The original CPO Guide provides guidance for the following professions/disciplines: Advocates, Civil Attorneys, Courts & Judiciary, Law Enforcement, and Prosecutors. Recent CPO Guide supplements provide guidance for two additional disciplines: Court Personnel and Court Supervision.

What technical assistance is available under this CPO project?

We offer a variety of technical assistance including access to publications (see Publications), webinars (recordings available, see Webinars), on-site and remote training (see TA Request), consultation or system collaboration and improvement (see TA Request or email us at and other assistance tailored to specific requests.

Request for Technical Assistance or Training

We do not provide direct services, legal advice, or legal assistance on individual cases. If you or someone you know is in danger, please contact 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.

We provide online and in person training and phone consultation to communities and professionals interested in improving their civil protection order systems. To submit a request, please use the form below.