Wash. – On July1, several laws took effect in Washington including an addition to Engrossed House Bill 1320, Substitute House Bill 1901.
These laws are meant to streamline the process for asking for a protection order by making it more accessible and efficient.
SHB 1901, adds coercive control to the definition of domestic violence, leaving the definition broad so it can umbrella behavior like threats and intimidation under it.
The Executive Director of the YWCA Cheri Kilty said this could expand when victims of domestic violence can ask for a protection order.
“I do think it could be a positive thing that now that can be considered differently than in the past,” Kilty said. “When they’re filing out their statement instead of focusing on physical assault or things that are concrete that have happened they can also include some of those experiences they’ve gone through especially if someone has been threatening to kill them.”
Under this law, superior courts must handle all cases of extreme risk protection orders unless the defendant is under 18 years old. In that case, juvenile court would hear the case.
It also harmonizes the six civil protection orders in Washington state together to make the process to apply for them easier.
According to Yakima County Prosecutor Joe Brusic, these changes should be beneficial for victims of domestic violence, while also protecting the rights of the accused.
“It makes it once again easier to access the information find out what you should do as a petitioner and therefore get an order possibly faster,” Brusic said.
When a petition and supporting documents for a protection order are submitted to the clerk after business hours, they must be processed as soon as possible on the next judicial day.
Courts are also required to provide information on how each type of protection order is filed.
On January 1, 2023, electronic filing of protection orders will also take effect as a part of the changes. Brusic said this will make it easier for victims to file and improve communication within courts.
Kilty said while these changes seem to be positive, sometimes legislation has unintended consequences.
“Another tool that an abuser can use and turn around on the victims and be saying that they’re intimidating them or they’re harassing them in some way but maybe that’s not true maybe they really are the aggressor,” Kilty said.
Victim of domestic violence Amie Adams said it’s important for people to understand why victims of domestic violence stay with their abusive partner.
“A lot people ask like why don’t they just leave and it’s.. there’s so much more that goes into it and it think a lot of it is the manipulation and the gaslighting and the verbal and emotional abuse causes victims and abusers to feel like they can’t survive without that person,” Adams said.
People who have been abused don’t always file protection orders or try to file charges after the experience like she didn’t.
“Victims need to be mentally and emotionally ready to make that move because I know that’s never why I moved forward or pressed charges,” Adams said.
However, for those that do seek protection you can find more information on your rights HERE.
Article Source: Fox 11