House moves to keep domestic-violence victims safe from their abusers

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OLYMPIA—The House of Representatives voted unanimously today for state Rep. Roger Goodman’s proposal to increase protections for victims of domestic violence who risk being hunted down and hurt again by their abusers.

“This bill will protect victims of the most dangerous domestic-violence offenders—the abusers who are determined to track down their victims again,” said Goodman (D-Kirkland).

Goodman’s House Bill 2363 requires courts and others to respect the confidentiality of information that would allow perpetrators to locate their victim’s residence, employer, school, or place of refuge.

The bill also increases the penalty for violating no-contact orders in harassment cases from a misdemeanor to a gross misdemeanor—punishable by up to 364 days in jail.

David Martin, who supervises the domestic-violence unit of the King County Prosecutor’s office, called Goodman’s bill “an important step for safety” that reflects the input of a wide variety of experts on domestic violence.

Martin noted that that Goodman’s proposal would also require a rigorous evidence-based study of what works, and doesn’t work, to prevent domestic-violence abusers from reoffending.

“It’s not enough to merely punish offenders of domestic violence,” Martin said. We have to invest in efforts to change their behavior.”

Goodman, who serves as vice chair of the House Judiciary Committee, has long championed legislative efforts to reduce domestic violence.

In 2010, he authored House Bill 2777, an omnibus reform that was the most sweeping rewrite of domestic violence laws in 30 years.

Today’s unanimous House vote sends House Bill 2363 to the Senate for further consideration.

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