Sexual Assault Protection Orders
The State of Washington takes sexual assault very seriously. It recognizes that in addition to physical pain and injury, sexual assault instills terror, humiliation, and degradation in a victim. Women are raped every six minutes in this country, and it is an underreported crime. Even victims who do not report sexual assault to the police may seek protection from their attackers. A victim may seek a civil solution to the problem by asking for a sexual assault protection order. The order can tell the alleged offender to keep away from the victim. At Blair & Kim, our Seattle civil protection order attorneys can help people pursue this type of remedy or present a persuasive case for why it should not be imposed on them.Situations When a Sexual Assault Protection Order May Apply
Under RCW 7.90.020, a victim of sexual assault may petition for a sexual assault protection order. The legislature intended a sexual assault protection order to provide a remedy for people who have been attacked sexually but do not qualify for a domestic violence order of protection. The order may require an alleged perpetrator to keep away from the victim, or it may order the alleged perpetrator to keep away from the victim's residence or workplace. Sometimes it does both.
While domestic violence protection orders are remedies intended to assist in getting abused victims out of a domestic or household relationship, sexual assault protection orders may help protect people outside a domestic or household relationship. For example, if a college student was raped by a fellow classmate whom she knew in no other context, a sexual assault protection order would address her need to maintain a safe distance from her assaulter. Since the classmate and she were not dating or living together, she would not qualify for protection through a domestic violence protection order.
The petition needs to state that there has been nonconsensual sexual conduct or penetration. Sexual assault, as defined by law, is sexual touching of private parts without freely given agreement, either directly or through clothing. It may also include any type of sexual penetration by someone else's body part, and it may include the forced display of private areas in order to sexually arouse someone else. The petitioner needs to include an affidavit in which they state the specific actions and statements that were made during the assault or immediately afterward that make the petitioner reasonably fearful of future dangerous actions.
A victim of sexual assault who is 16 or older may petition the court to get a sexual assault protection order. Victims under age 16 need parents or guardians to petition on their behalf. Third parties may also file on behalf of vulnerable adults or other victims who cannot file because they are disabled, elderly, in poor health, or unable to access the court system.
The petitioner and the respondent need to let the court know about any other non-contact orders, protection orders, restraining orders, or any other litigation that may be going on between them. For example, if they are divorcing, they would need to let the court know about the divorce litigation. However, the petitioner may submit this petition regardless of whether there are any other legal matters or actions between them.
Within 90 days of receiving a master copy, all court clerk's offices are supposed to make available certain standardized forms and information materials required under RCW 7.90.180. The petitioner need not post a bond to get the order, and if they allege in the petition that the disclosure of their address risks them or a family member being abused, the address may be withheld from filings with the court. If a petitioner does not disclose an address, they may designate an alternative address to receive notice of motions and orders.Retain a Civil Protection Order Lawyer in Seattle
Sexual assault is a highly charged crime. In some cases, obtaining a sexual assault order is appropriate, while in other cases, the circumstances surrounding the order may suggest that it is being sought for an improper purpose. Whether you are petitioning for or opposing a sexual assault protection order in Seattle, you need to hire an attorney who understands all of the aspects of your case. Our firm has a criminal defense attorney as well as a family law attorney, so we can look at your whole case and come up with a strategy to address your entire situation. We also represent people in Redmond, Kirkland, Bellevue, and elsewhere in King County. Call us at (206) 622-6562 or contact us via our online form to arrange an appointment. We also can assist you if you need a domestic violence lawyer to seek or oppose that type of order.