Victims of sexual assault would gain increased protections

  • Friday, March 10, 2017 4:06pm
  • News

Legal protections would be available to more victims of sexual assault under legislation sponsored by Sen. Joe Fain, which passed the state Senate on Wednesday.

The plan allows courts to make the protection orders permanent, instead of the current maximum of two years and reduces burdens to renew existing orders.

“Current legal protections for victims of sexual assault do not reach as many people as they should,” said Fain, R-Auburn. “Protection orders are incredibly effective, especially in the absence of other legal charges, but obtaining them can be difficult. Reducing barriers to critical protections helps keeps more people safe.”

Sexual assault protection orders are available for victims of sexual assault who do not qualify for a domestic violence protection order. Once an order is in place the respondent is prohibited from contact with the victim and from certain places along with other relief determined by the court.

“This bill means that victims of sexual assault will have the same protection as other victims,” from Mary Ellen Stone, executive director of the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center. “It is a significant step forward and I greatly appreciate Senator Fain’s strong leadership.”

Protection orders are obtained through civil courts with testimony from the victim, but are limited to a maximum of two years. This can force a victim to relive the abuse in court every two years to keep protections in place. The legislation, which passed by a 43-6 margin, allows them to be permanent and brings sexual assault protection orders in-line with other orders including for domestic violence, stalking and harassment.

Violation of a protection order results in criminal charges against the attacker.

In 2015, state programs served approximately 13,000 victims of sexual assault, with roughly 5,000 in King County.

The bill now heads to the House of Representatives, which has approved a similar measure, and the two chambers are expected to work toward a final plan in the weeks ahead.

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

Kent School Board extends superintendent’s contract to 2023

Controversial 3-2 vote gives Calvin Watts another year

Gov. Jay Inslee waves during his Thursday morning press conference on extending protections for renters. (TVW)
Governor extends some protections for Washington renters

Under a new order, landlords can only evict a tenant if they refuse to seek help through a relief program.

Fire burns a Volkswagen Beetle on Wednesday, June 23 in the 11000 block of SE 220th St., in Kent. Firefighters extinguished the fire before it spread to any other vehicles. COURTESY PHOTO, Puget Sound Fire
Fire burns VW Beetle in Kent parking lot

Puget Sound Fire extinguishes fire

Firefighters contained a fire June 23 at the Kent QFC store to a roof area near the back of the building. COURTESY PHOTO, Puget Sound Fire
Firefighters quickly extinguish fire at Kent QFC store

Twenty units respond to early Wednesday morning, June 23 fire

Courtesy Photo, Regional Animal Services of King County
Kent City Council drops proposal to ban roosters

Decides no rule changes needed to reduce noise complaints

Kent’s Scenic Hill Elementary School celebrated its 60th anniversary this year. COURTESY PHOTO, Kent School District
Nine Kent schools hit anniversary milestones this year

Scenic Hill Elementary celebrates 60th year

High school graduates celebrate at Kent campuses

Class of 2021 gathers at schools across town

Renton Mayor Armondo Pavone (left) and King County Executive Dow Constantine (right) discuss in front of the newly purchased shelter (Photo by Cameron Sheppard/Sound Publishing)
County purchases Renton hotel to serve as homeless shelter

Deal is part of Health Through Housing initiative; controversial Red Lion shelter to be “phased out.”

Most Read