Get Information

Safety Planning

Please contact a legal advocate to talk about safety planning in more detail as safety planning concerns can be unique to each individual.  A legal advocate is available to walk you through information, resources and help you decide how to best protect you and/or your family.

Notification

VINE is an automated service that lets you track the custody status of offenders in jail or prison. By calling the toll free number 1.877.425.8463 or visiting www.vinelink.com, you can find out the custody status of an offender. This service allows crime victims to obtain timely and reliable information about criminal cases and the custody status of offenders 24 hours a day. You can also register to be notified by phone or email if the custody status of an offender changes.

Protection Orders & Address Confidentiality

What is a Sexual Assault Protection Order?
A sexual assault protection order is a civil order issued by a court on behalf of a sexual assault victim.
What Can a Sexual Assault Protection Order Do?
The order can require the person who harmed you to stay away from you, your home, school, work or other places you request, and to have no further contact with you.
Who Can Get a Sexual Assault Protection Order?
Any person 16 or older who is a victim of sexual assault may petition the court to obtain an order. If you are under 16, you need a parent or guardian to ask the court for the order on your behalf.
How Does the Law Define Sexual Assault?
Nonconsensual (meaning lack of freely given agreement) sexual touching of the genitals, anus, or breasts - either directly or through clothing. Nonconsensual sexual penetration, however slight, of the genitals or anus by a body part of another including the mouth or the use of objects. Forced display of the genitals, anus or breasts for the purpose of sexually arousing another.

How to Apply For a Protection Order

Step One: Petition the Court

  • You can get the petitions (forms) for all types of protection orders at a court, from your sexual assault advocate or on the internet at www.courts.wa.gov/forms. A legal advocate can help you complete the petition and be with you through this process or a lawyer may represent you.

  • You must swear under oath that the things you write in the petition are true. In the petition, you must state that you are a victim of sexual assault and the reasons why you are afraid of the person who assaulted you.

  • File the petition with the court clerk at your local court. You do not have to pay a fee.

Step Two: Appear for a Temporary Hearing

  • After you file the petition, you will need to talk to a judge in a courtroom. The judge will ask you questions and you will need to answer truthfully under oath. A legal advocate or a lawyer, if you have one, can come with you to this hearing.

  • If the judge grants your petition, you will get a temporary sexual assault protection order that is good for two weeks. The court papers will state the time and date of the next hearing - which you must attend.

Step Three: Personal Service

  • A law enforcement officer must then give a copy of your petition, the temporary order and notice of the hearing date to the person who assaulted you - who is called the "respondent". The officer has to be able to give these papers to the respondent personally - so if you do not know where the person is or have their address, you may not be able to get the full order.

  • The officer must give these papers to the respondent at least five days before the full hearing. You may have to pay a fee for service.

Step Four: Appear in a Full Hearing

  • After two weeks, you will come back to court. If possible, you should bring a lawyer to represent you at this hearing - but you are not required to have one. A legal advocate can come with you too. The person who assaulted you will likely be at this hearing and may also bring a lawyer. You should come to this hearing, whether the respondent has been served or not. If you do not come, the court will dismiss the case and you will not be protected by an order.

  • At the full hearing, both you and the respondent will be asked questions by the judge, the lawyers or one another about the sexual assault and other things you wrote in your petition. It is helpful to make a list of what you want to tell the judge and to bring copies of any important records such as medical or police records, if you have them. The judge will decide whether or not to give you a full sexual assault protection order - which lasts up to two years. If you want the order to be effective for longer, you must petition the court for renewal within three months of the order's expiration date.

Address Confidentiality Program

Since 1991, the goal of the Address Confidentiality Program (ACP) has been to help crime victims (specifically domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking and stalking) stay safe. ACP is designed to prevent offenders from using state and local government records to locate their victims. To participate in the program, a person must be a survivor of sexual assault, domestic violence, trafficking or stalking; a resident of the State of Washington; and must have recently moved to a location unknown to the abuser and unknown to government agencies.

The program is simple and has two basic parts. First, the ACP gives program participants a 'substitute' address. ACP participants may legally use the ACP 'substitute' address when working with state and local agencies. Using the substitute address means their mail will go to that address instead of home. ACP staff then repackages and forwards participant mail to the actual residence address on file. State and local government agencies are required to accept a participant's use of the ACP substitute address. Private companies, though, do not have to accept the ACP address. Victim advocates may be able to suggest alternative ways to protect a participant when doing business with private companies like phone and cable companies, insurance agents, department and video stores, energy companies etc. The second part of the program offers confidentiality for two normally public records: voter registration and marriage records.

By itself, the ACP won't keep anyone safe. To be really valuable, using the ACP substitute address must be part of a complete and long-term safety plan. You can get more information about safety planning at a victim assistance program near you. For more information please visit the Washington Secretary of State website (link).