OLYMPIA – A bill to improve the civil order protection system passed the House today with a 53-44 vote. Sponsored by Rep. Roger Goodman (D-Kirkland), House Bill 1320 codifies temporary changes that have removed barriers to access and standardizes provisions between the six different types of protection orders. Goodman worked closely with his seatmate Sen. Manka Dhingra (D-Redmond) who introduced a companion bill in the Senate (Senate Bill 5297).
Washington has a robust civil protection order system that allows victims of domestic violence, abuse, harassment, stalking and other threatening behavior immediate protection apart from the criminal legal system. Washington currently has six different types of civil protection orders: domestic violence protection orders, vulnerable adult protection orders, antiharassment protection orders, sexual assault protection orders, stalking protection orders, and extreme risk protection orders. Crucially, those named in these protection orders are required to surrender their firearms. A July 2019 study found that higher rates of gun ownership associated with higher rates of domestic violence. These laws allow victims of violence protection and peace of mind by immediately removing firearms from their abuser.
“The pandemic has highlighted some long-standing barriers to access for victims of violent or harassing behavior,” said Goodman. “Often victims are forced to choose between going to court to get a protection order and caring for their child or going to work.”
Throughout the pandemic, the state has been temporarily removing those barriers by allowing online filing of petitions, electronic service of protection orders, and video and telephone hearings. Goodman and Dhingra partnered to propose legislation to make those temporary changes permanent and to standardize provisions within the six different protection orders to make the system easier to navigate.
“This bill will update the civil protection order system to make it more efficient and effective,” Goodman said. “It will allow survivors of violence to access these crucial protections without having to decide between their safety and their job.”
The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.