The Seattle Times
April 11, 2017
THE Legislature should be commended for looking out for some of the most vulnerable people in our state — victims of sexual assault.
A successful bipartisan effort in both chambers will now give these victims the same protections as people who have experienced domestic violence or stalking, even when no charges are filed against the accused attacker.
The reformed sexual-assault protection order law is a reminder of the good things the Washington Legislature can accomplish when thoughtful lawmakers from both parties work together.
The new law, which was sent to the governor’s desk last week, would allow courts to grant protection orders for victims of sexual assault for a longer period of time, even permanently. The previous law set a maximum limit of two years, after which a victim would have to go back to court to ask for another protection order. Violations of a protection order can result in charges against an attacker.
The measure also reduces the burden of renewing existing protection orders. This sensible change, advanced by the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center, is long overdue.
Having to return to the courtroom to renew protection orders every two years forced victims to re-experience trauma by potentially putting them in contact with their attacker and telling their story over and over again.
Thank you to the bill sponsors, Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn, and Rep. Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland, and the other lawmakers who made this improvement in state law possible.
Editorial board members are editorial page editor Kate Riley, Frank A. Blethen, Donna Gordon Blankinship, Brier Dudley, Mark Higgins, Jonathan Martin, William K. Blethen (emeritus) and Robert C. Blethen (emeritus).