Victims of domestic violence often feel as though they are powerless to stop their abusers. If you have been the victim of such abuse at the hands of a spouse who is also a member of the military, those feelings may be even more prevalent. The very nature of your spouse’s work may make them an even greater danger to you, as they may have combat training or easy access to weapons. Plus, you may not know to whom you can report such abuse, as questions of jurisdiction often come up between military personnel and standard law enforcement authorities. Yet there are resources that the military does offer to protect you from an abusive servicemember spouse.
One is a military protection order. According to the Cornell Law School, such an order is issued by your spouse’s commanding officers and mandates that they refrain from contact with you for a certain period of time. An MPO can also require your spouse to surrender any weapons they have (as well as their weapons custody card). As soon as an MPO has been issued to your spouse, one must also be provided to you and the installation law enforcement offices where your spouse is stationed within 24 hours.
Installation law enforcement can monitor your spouse’s actions while on base, yet with if you live outside of an installation. In such a case, representatives from the installation must contact local law enforcement authorities upon the issuance of the MPO specifying who it involves and how long it is in place. You can also seek to secure a civilian protective order which has the same effect of an MPO and whose terms apply to any military installation within the issuing court’s jurisdiction.