Domestic Violence in Washington State

Domestic violence in Washington state is a serious matter, particularly in family law matters such as divorce and co-parenting matters. According to a report offered by Washington state's Department of Health, women between the ages of 18 and 24 face the highest risk of domestic violence along with women who are age 65 or older. Women who live in low income households also face a higher risk of domestic violence. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, over 40% of women and 28% of men have experienced physical violence, rape or stalking.

If you know or think that there is domestic violence or stalking in your relationship and you need help obtaining a protective order, contact the Law Offices of Alesha Struthers to schedule your free consultation to learn more about which protective order could help you. As a Washington domestic violence lawyer, Alesha Struthers understands domestic violence laws, how they impact your life, and wants to help you understand what you can do to better protect yourself and your family.

Domestic Violence Protection Orders in Washington State

Washington state is different than other states when it comes to domestic violence protection orders in that it goes further to offer different methods to protect victims, survivors and their families from abusers. However, it can be difficult to know which domestic violence protection order is the right one you should choose.

Domestic violence protection orders in Washington state may be civil or criminal in nature, depending on the circumstances. Civil protection orders include:

  • Anti-harassment order: An order intended to protect individuals who have been harassed.
  • Domestic violence protection order: An order intended to protect individuals who have been victimized by domestic violence.
  • Restraining order: An order intended to protect someone involved in a family law
  • Sexual assault protection order: An order intended to protect someone who was sexually assaulted.
  • Stalking protection order: An order intended to protect someone victimized by a stalker.
  • Vulnerable adult protection order: An order intended to protect a vulnerable adult who was or may be abused or exploited.
  • Extreme Risk Protection Order: An order intended to prohibit someone who poses a significant danger to self or others from accessing and obtaining a firearm.
  • Washington VINE Protective Order: An automated service that alerts victims when protective orders are served and when they are about to expire.

Criminal protection orders include:

  • Domestic violence no-contact order: An order intended to protect a victim of a domestic violence crime and when a criminal charge was filed by the city or Washington state.
  • Sexual assault and stalking orders: Orders intended to protect victims of sexual assault, stalking, or other crimes when a criminal charge has been filed by Washington state.

Washington State Domestic Violence Laws

Foreign protection orders, that is, protection orders related to domestic violence obtained in other states, will be treated as valid in Washington state and there is no requirement to file them to have them enforced.

Electronic Monitoring 

Recently, Washington state enacted the Tiffany Hill Act to help provide more protection to domestic violence victims and survivors and to continue to protect them from further abuse. Ms. Hill was, unfortunately, killed by her estranged husband despite receiving a restraining order. The new law requires, in certain circumstances, abusers to be electronically monitored so that their victims are better protected.


In Washington state an individual is required to immediately surrender firearms and dangerous weapons, surrender a concealed pistol license, prohibited from accessing, obtaining, or possessing firearms, dangerous weapons, and a concealed pistol license if a protective order is issued that prohibits harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner of the person or child of the intimate partner or person, or engaging in conduct that would create reasonable fear of bodily injury, and the Court finds the individual represents a credible threat to the physical safety of the intimate partner or child (RCW 9.41.800).

What Happens When Someone Is Convicted of Domestic Violence in WA State?

What happens when someone is convicted of domestic violence in Washington state depends on what, exactly, they are arrested for and charged with as well as what they are ultimately convicted of, but domestic violence convictions are serious matters as they should be. When someone is convicted of domestic violence in Washington state, they may have to deal with some or all of the following, depending on their specific situation:

  • Mandatory arrest and jail
  • No contact or protection order issued against them
  • They may lose their right to own a firearm or to receive a concealed license
  • They may be ordered to turn over their firearm(s) or their concealed license
  • Be ordered to complete a domestic violence evaluation and recommended treatment
  • Be ordered to complete a domestic violence class
  • Be ordered to pay fines and costs
  • Be placed on probation
  • May be ordered to attend supervised visitation if they have children or lose their custody or visitation
  • Be subjected to electronic monitoring

However, if you are a domestic violence victim, it is not your fault. Do not feel that you must protect the person hurting you from the consequences of their actions. Call one of the following domestic violence hotlines to get help right away:

Can You Report Domestic Violence After the Fact in Washington State?

Yes, you can report domestic violence after the fact in Washington state. In certain circumstances, there may be a statute of limitations. To learn more about domestic violence reporting and protective orders as well as your rights, schedule your free consultation with the Law Offices of Alesha Struthers.

In Washington State, Can You Break Your Lease Due to Domestic Violence?

Yes, you can use the Residential Landlord Tenant Act  to get out of your lease with the help of an attorney. You or a qualified third party must notify the landlord or property manager in writing. If the person who assaulted, stalked, or harassed you is the landlord, you may be able to leave the premises without paying the rent that is owed. To learn more about breaking your lease because of domestic violence, harassment, or stalking, schedule your free consultation with the Law Offices of Alesha Struthers.