Tribal Protection Orders

Welcome to

This website is intended to provide a clearinghouse of information and resources pertaining to tribal protection orders and tribal court enforcement. 

Native people experience the highest rates of domestic violence and sexual assault in the United States.

A protection order is a legal document that is available to victims of domestic violence in most jurisdictions. In order to maximize victim safety, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) mandates that states and tribes enforce each other's protection orders. 

UPDATE: Violence Against Women Act 2013 Reauthorization

Congress has clarified that tribal courts have full jurisdiction over all parties in protection order cases.

Tribal Court Authority

18 U.S.C. 2265(e)  (updated 2013)

For purposes of this section, a court of an Indian tribe shall have full civil jurisdiction to issue and enforce protection orders involving any person, including the authority to enforce any orders through civil contempt proceedings, to exclude violators from Indian land, and to use other appropriate mechanisms, in matters arising anywhere in the Indian country of the Indian tribe (as defined in section 1151) or otherwise within the authority of the Indian tribe.

VAWA 2013 also recognizes tribal inherent criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians who commit certain acts of domestic violence and protection order violations. See Federal Laws for more information.

National Resources for Victims:

National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).

Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network
1-800-656-HOPE is a project of the Tribal Law and Policy Institute.

This site focuses on protection orders; for more information about domestic violence visit TLPI's Domestic Violence Resources page.


This web site is supported by grant number 2004-WT-AX-K043 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. Points of view in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.