Domestic Violence and the Military

Arizona Revised Statute 13-3601 describes Arizona’s domestic violence law. Domestic violence encompasses more than just physical abuse. A person can also be found guilty of domestic violence by threatening violence or emotionally abusing another person. In order to have an act categorized as domestic violence, there must be a relationship between the perpetrator and the victim, such as marriage or former marriage, current or previous sexual relationship, or relation by blood, marriage or court order.

A.R.S. 13-3601 lists crimes that are considered domestic violence. Some of the crimes include: any act that is dangerous against a child, murder, endangerment, kidnapping, sexual assault, criminal damage, disorderly conduct, and cruelty to animals. For a complete list of all of the acts that are considered domestic violence go to: A.R.S. 13-3601-Domestic violence; definition; classification; sentencing option; arrest and procedure for violation; weapon seizure

State Law Consequences

If a person is found guilty of a domestic violence offense in Arizona he or she will be sentenced according to the guidelines of the particular charge. Multiple convictions and also offenses committed against pregnant women can result in harsher sentencing. Per A.R.S. 13-36.01, “[t]he judge shall order a person who is convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense to complete a domestic violence offender treatment program that is provided by a facility approved by the court pursuant to rules adopted by the supreme court, the department of health services, the United States department of veterans affairs or a probation department.” A person who is convicted of domestic violence is not allowed to possess a firearm per federal law. (18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9))

Military Specific Actions

The military offers two pathways to help victims of domestic violence: the military justice system and the Family Advocacy System.

The Military Justice System

If the abuser is in the military he or she can be charged in civilian court and under the Uniform Code of Military Justice or administrative regulations.
“The military commander has a range of options to correct/change an offender’s behavior short of punishment and is required to resolve the charge at the lowest possible level, considering all facts and circumstances. The purpose of these options is to achieve and maintain good order and discipline, but commanders have discretion within this framework.” (

Family Advocacy System

The Family Advocacy System (FAP) was created by the Department of Defense in order to stop domestic violence. FAP offers programs for military members that aim to prevent domestic violence. In addition to these programs, it also offers victim advocates that can provide information on finding shelter, preparing a safety plan and counseling services. For more information go to:

Restricted Reporting vs. Unrestricted Reporting

If the abuser is in the military, “[v]ictims may contact the FAP, military police or chain of command to make an “unrestricted report” if they want an investigation of an abuse incident and command involvement. The command can offer the victim added support and protection. An unrestricted report also gives the command the discretion to take administrative action against the offender.” (

If a victim wants his or her report to remain private, he or she can make a restricted report. When a victim makes a restricted report, law enforcement and military command will not be notified. A victim who is in immediate danger is not allowed to make a restricted report. (

Protection Orders

Civilian Protective Orders

A protective order is a court order that says that a person is not allowed to have contact with another specified person(s). A victim of domestic violence can file for a protective order at any courthouse. There is no cost to file a protective order. When the order is filed there will be an opportunity for a hearing if the defendant disagrees with the protective order. At the hearing, both sides will be allowed to speak in front of a judge and explain their case regarding why the order should or should not be granted.

Military Protection Orders

“A military Protection Order is a written lawful order issued by a commander that orders a soldier to avoid contact with his or her spouse or children. Violations of a military Protection Order must be reported on DA Form 3975, entered into COPS, and entered into NCIC. Violations of a military Protection Order may be violations of Article 92, UCMJ. The commander should provide a written copy of the order within 24 hours of its issuance to the person with whom the member is ordered not to have contact. A copy should be forwarded to the installation Family Advocacy Program Manager (FAPM), the Chief, Social Work Service, and the installation military police.” (

For more information on protection orders go to:

Resources for Victims of Domestic Violence

National Domestic Violence Hotline: (800) 799-7233
Department of Defense (DoD) Child Abuse Safety and Violation Hotline:  (800) 336-4592
Arizona Coalition against Domestic Violence Legal Advocacy: (800) 782-6400
Arizona Department of Public Safety:
Arizona Supreme Court:

This website has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information on this website is not legal advice. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation. Also, the law may vary from state-to-state or county-to-county, so that some information in this website may not be correct for your situation. Finally, the information contained on this website is not guaranteed to be up to date. Therefore, the information contained in this website cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your jurisdiction.

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