Civil Protection Orders

Antiharassment, Domestic Violence, Extreme Risk, Sexual Assault, Stalking, and Vulnerable Adult

Washington State law allows for a person to file a civil case in court asking a judge to grant an order to protect them from another person whose behavior is abusive, threatening, exploitive or seriously alarming. The primary purpose of most is to order the "respondent" to not contact or harm the "petitioner." Unlike other protection orders, an Extreme Risk Protection Order does not provide protection to the petitioner. Its primary purpose is to order the respondent to surrender weapons.

There are 6 types of protections orders, intended for specific situations. State law establishes who can seek them, who they can protect, who they can restrain, the types of protections and relief they offer, when and where court hearings are conducted, what costs may be incurred, etc.

Two types of protection orders are primarily filed in District Court: Antiharassment and Stalking. A case can be transferred to or filed in Superior court IF:

  • The petitioner/victim or the respondent (harasser/stalker) is under 18 years old.
  • The action involves title or possession of real property, and the respondent claims an interest in that property such as ownership or right to occupy.
  • The action would interfere with the respondent's care, control or custody of his/her child under 18.
  • The Superior Court has jurisdiction over a case involving the petitioner/victim and the Respondent.

Petitioners choose which type of protection order is most appropriate for them to pursue. However, protection orders do not cover everyone’s needs; there may be other legal remedies that are appropriate.

Antiharassment/Stalking Protection Order (RCW 10.14)

A petition can be filed by:

  • An adult who is a victim of unlawful harassment.
  • Parents, on behalf of their child:
    • Against an adult whose behavior is detrimental to the child.
    • Against a minor who is under investigation or has been adjudicated of an offense against the child.

"Unlawful Harassment" means:

knowing and willful course of conduct which seriously alarms, annoys, harasses, or is detrimental to such person, and which serves no legitimate or lawful purpose. The conduct shall be such as would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, and shall actually cause substantial emotional distress to the petitioner, or, when the course of conduct would cause a reasonable parent to fear for the well-being of their child.

"Course of conduct" means:

A pattern of conduct composed of a series of acts over a period of time, however short, evidencing a continuity of purpose.

 

Download the Protection Order Form from www.courts.wa.gov

Domestic Violence Protection Order (RCW 26.50)

A petition can be filed by a person who is a victim of domestic violence or fears violence by a family or household members. This includes:

  • Persons who are or were married.
  • Persons who are or were domestic partners.
  • Persons who have a child in common.
  • Adults who do or did reside together.
  • Persons 16 years or older who have or had a dating relationship.
  • Adults who are related by blood or marriage.
  • Persons with a biological or legal parent-child relationship, including step-parents and step-children, and grandparents and grandchildren.

Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) may petition on behalf and with the consent of a vulnerable adult

"Domestic Violence":

  • Physical harm, bodily injury.
  • Assault.
  • The infliction of fear of imminent physical harm.
  • Sexual assault.
  • Stalking.
  • Safety planning is important. The Respondent (restrained person) may ignore the importance of your order. For safety planning and help with forms contact Aspen Victim Advocacy Services 509-925-9384.

 

Extreme Risk Protecton Order (Initiative Measure No. 1491)

A petition can be filed by a law enforcement agency, a law enforcement officer, or a person who is a family or household member of the respondent. Family or household member includes:

  • Persons related by blood, marriage, or adoption
  • Dating partners
  • Persons who have a child in common
  • Persons who reside or have resided with the respondent within the past year
  • Domestic partners
  • Persons who have a biological or legal parent-child relationship, including stepparents and stepchildren, and grandparents and grandchildren
  • A person who is acting or has acted as the respondent’s legal guardian

The petitioner must show that the respondent poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to self or others in the near future by having in his or her custody or control, purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm.

The court can order that the respondent surrender weapons but this type of protection order does not provide any protection for the petitioner.

Costs to petitioner:

  • No fee for forms, filing, or certified copies.
  • No fee required for service of documents on the respondent, if performed by law enforcement.

 

Download the Protection Order Form from www.courts.wa.gov

Sexual Assault Protection Order (RCW 7.90)

A petition can be filed by:

  • A person, 16 or older, who is a victim of sexual assault (unless the victim qualifies for a domestic violence protection order).
  • Any person* on behalf of a victim of sexual assault (unless the victim qualifies for a domestic violence protection order) who is:
    • A child.
    • A vulnerable adult as defined in RCW 74.34.020.
    • An adult who cannot petition due to age, disability, health or inaccessibility.

*The court may require the participation of a parent or guardian on behalf of a minor. The court will determine if a person has legal standing to file a petition on behalf of another person.

"Sexual Assault" means:

  • 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.

 

Download the Protection Order Form from www.courts.wa.gov

Vulnerable Adult Protection Order (RCW 74.34)

A petition can be filed by:

  • A vulnerable adult who is a victim of:
    • Abandonment
    • Abuse (sexual, mental, physical)
    • Financial exploitation
    • Neglect
  • A legal guardian, legal fiduciary, the Department of Social and Health Services, or an "interested person" on behalf of the vulnerable adult.

Vulnerable adult" includes:

  • Someone who:
    • Is over 60 years old and without the functional, mental, or physical ability to care for him or herself.
  • Someone who is 18 years or older and:
    • Was found incapacitated
    • Has a developmental disability
    • Has been admitted to a DSHS-licensed care facility or received in-home care from a provider under DSHS contract
    • Self directs at-home care from a compensated personal aide.

Download the Protection Order Form from www.courts.wa.gov

Other Orders

The vast majority of people come to the Clerk’s Office after an incident where a police officer advised them to go to court to get a "no contact" or "restraining order". No contact and restraining orders can also order a person not to contact or harm someone, but they are not protection orders and are used in different situations.

No-Contact orders: Requested by the prosecuting attorney in a criminal case to protect the victim or witness of a crime.

Restraining orders: Requested by the parties as part of an existing domestic case such as a divorce, paternity, custody, child support or visitation case. If you have questions about obtaining a restraining order, please seek legal advice or contact a legal support agency for assistance.