Washington Domestic Violence Protective Order Guide
For most of us, family is everything. Our parents, spouses, siblings, and children love, nourish, and sustain us during good times and bad. Or at least they’re meant to.
Sadly, many families are fractured by domestic violence, which is defined as abusive behavior directed by one intimate partner, family member, or cohabitant against another to control them. Such behavior can be:
- Physical: includes hitting, shoving, punching, and other forms of physical assault
- Sexual: can be marital rape, incest, physical violence that includes sex, and sexually demeaning the victim
- Emotional: involves the invalidation of the victim’s self-esteem via name-calling, constant criticism, and similar behaviors
- Psychological: happens when the abuser uses intimidation and threats to make the victim fearful and compliant
- Economic: occurs when the abuser aims (and succeeds) to make the victim financially reliant on them
FAQ: Can Domestic Violence Be More Than Physical?
How Can You Protect Yourself from Domestic Violence?
Washington state law has zero-tolerance for domestic violence. If you find yourself being intimidated and controlled by someone with whom you have a close personal relationship, I can help you protect yourself by seeking one of the following:
- Protection Orders
- Restraining Orders
- Anti-Harassment Orders
We explain what each entails below:
What Are Protection Orders?
Domestic violence protection orders are intended to prevent any kind of contact between the victim and the abuser. The abuser may be ordered to remain a certain distance away from your home, workplace, or school.
If you are in an emergency, an immediate temporary order may be issued for up to 14 days. A hearing will be set within a 14-day period, with the respondent given appropriate notice. At the hearing, the court will specify the length of the order, which can range from a single year to a permanent situation.
A willful violation of a protection order in Washington results in a mandatory arrest and possible contempt or criminal charges.
What Are Restraining Orders?
Restraining orders are typically filed during an existing family law situation, such as an upcoming divorce or a disagreement over child custody. Unlike protection orders, they can also address child and spousal support and property matters besides domestic violence.
You may take out a restraining order if you are married to the abuser or have had a child with them. Temporary orders last 14 days and permanent ones can last as long as the court deems it necessary. The penalty for violation is mandatory arrest followed by possible criminal or contempt charges.
What Are Anti-Harassment Orders?
Anti-harassment orders protect you if you are being harassed and do not qualify for a protection order. They are usually filed in disputes that don’t involve a domestic relationship. Temporary orders take effect for up to 14 days, and a final order can last indefinitely. If your harasser violates it, they may be arrested and charged with contempt or a gross misdemeanor.
ZafiroLaw Can Help
If you are seeking protection, don’t delay any longer. Contact ZafiroLaw immediately. I will make it a priority to meet with you, review your unique situation, and help you select the order best suited to your circumstances. I have helped many clients in and around Seattle to obtain the protection they need to escape domestic violence and receive peace of mind once again.