Although there are 5 kinds of orders in Washington State that offer protection, Domestic Violence Protection Orders and Sexual Assault Protection are most commonly used by survivors of violence who fear further violence from their assailant. Protection orders can be a piece of your plan for staying safe. These orders can be effective if an assailant fears arrest and prosecution and if they believe you will report order violations to the police.
Consider how a protection order can enhance your safety:
- It can make someone stay away from you, your work, your school, and/or your children
- It can prevent someone from calling, texting, emailing, and/or facebooking you or having their friends or family contact you
- It can protect your children from harm or removal from the State
- It can protect your pets from harm or removal from the State
- It can give you temporary or permanent sole access to your home or car
- If your abuser violates this order they will most likely be arrested
Consider the challenges of getting an order:
- You have to describe the abuse that happened to you in writing and verbally in court and your testimony is not private
- Your abuser is allowed to be present
- Your abuser is allowed to read everything you write down and hear everything you say
- If you file an order in Thurston County, your abuser is notified you are in Thurston County
Many survivors overcome these challenges in order to prioritize their safety but that doesn’t mean everyone wants to. Advocates at SafePlace want to help you through these challenges by being with you at court, standing between you and your abuser and helping to prepare you for the protection order process. Sometimes having someone there with you makes the process more manageable, albeit traumatic and stressful. If you would like assistance with your protection order paperwork or would like an advocate to accompany you to court, please call our 24-hour HelpLine for information.
You can access the Thurston County Clerk’s Office page on protection orders in our area to find out how to get an order.