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Protecting Yourself
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Legal Guidelines
There are a number of steps survivors of domestic violence can take through the criminal and civil legal systems to protect themselves from further abuse. A person may file criminal charges with the police if they are physically attacked, sexually assaulted, threatened with a weapon or have property damaged or stolen by an intimate partner. A Protection Order is a civil order restricting someone accused of domestic violence from harming, harassing, or contacting the victim. EDVP's legal advocates assist victims in filing Protection Orders, educate victims on the appropriate use of Protection Orders, and provide guidance and support through the legal system. To speak to a legal advocate, contact our our help line at 425-746-1940.

Domestic Violence Laws in Washington State
Domestic violence is against the law. It is illegal for your spouse or partner to hurt you physically in any way, to force you to have sex when you don't want to, to threaten to hurt or kill you, your children, pets, or to destroy your property. If you are a victim of domestic violence, there are laws in place to protect you.

If You Call the Police
If you are a victim of domestic violence and the police respond to assist you try to stay calm so that you can accurately describe what happened.
  1. Describe the incident in detail.

  2. If English is not your first language, ask the officer to arrange for an interpreter. It is not ideal for children, other family members or witnesses to interpret for you.

  3. Show the police any injuries, bruises or damaged property. This is evidence.

  4. Have the police photograph any injuries or damaged property.

  5. Tell the officers if there were any witnesses.

  6. Tell the officers about other violent incidents.

  7. Show the officers any court documents you have, such as a Protection Order.

  8. Ask that a report be filed. Officers are required to file an official report for every domestic violence case they respond to, even if no other police action was taken.

  9. Ask the officers for their business card, case number of the report and a phone number. Call the officers with any concerns or questions while the incident is being investigated.

Source: Washington Courts

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