New Legislation Offers Sexual-Violence Survivors Additional Safety

Washington sexual-violence victims could get some sense of peace from a bill working its way through the state Legislature.  Dan Frizzell has that story.

“Imagine being the victim of sexual assault.  Now imagine being the victim of a sexual assault and having to face your attacker again and again every two years.” .

That’s Representative Roger Goodman, chair of the House Public Safety Committee in Olympia.  Both of the things he talks about in that brief sound bite are common here in Washington state.  More than half of Washington women will experience sexual violence during their lifetime.  And while it’s possible for them to go to court and ask for a Sexual Assault Protection Order that prohibits attackers from contacting their victim, those orders expire after two years.  They can be renewed, but that process puts the victim through the ringer over and over.  That would change under the terms of legislation Goodman, a Democrat from Kirkland, is sponsoring this year.

“That revictimizes them, and traumatizes them.  House Bill 1384 remedies that problem by allowing a judge to extend the Sexual Assault Protection Order permanently.”

Although it was opposed by nearly half of the Republican caucus, Goodman’s bill passed the full House with a comfortable 76 – to – 21 margin. If it becomes law, it will offer sexual violence victims the same relief currently available to victims of stalking, domestic violence, and harassment:  the possibility of a lifetime without legal contact with their attackers.  In Olympia, I’m Dan Frizzell.