Senate passes Wilson bills that aid domestic-violence victims

Sen. Wilson gives floor speech

The Washington State Senate on Friday unanimously approved two bills prime-sponsored by Sen. Lynda Wilson that aim to help domestic-violence victims.

Senate Bill 6292 would use modern advances in technology to allow domestic-violence victims to receive real-time notification when their perpetrators are nearby so they have time to leave or prepare for a possible confrontation. The Senate passed it 46-0.

“This is an important bill to help protect domestic violence survivors,” said Wilson, R-Vancouver. “Violations of domestic violence protection orders frequently become life-or-death situations, where every minute counts. Real-time victim notification technology would give a victim the chance – both physically and mentally – to leave the area or prepare themselves for an encounter so they can protect themselves and survive.”

Senate Bill 6292 would provide domestic-violence victims with an additional level of protection by updating the state’s electronic-monitoring statutes to include modern real-time victim-notification technology.

Domestic-violence offenses made up 51 percent of all crimes against persons in Washington in 2014. There were nearly 50,000 domestic-violence offenses reported that year in the state. Of that total, 8,531 were violations of protection or no-contact orders. There have been 854 homicides caused by domestic violence committed over the last 20 years in Washington.

The Senate voted 45-0 to pass another Wilson measure, Senate Bill 5213, which would allow the awarding of fees to Limited License Legal Technicians in certain domestic-violence protection order cases.

“In 2015, Washington became the first state in the nation to offer this affordable legal support option to help meet the needs of people who are unable to afford an attorney,” Wilson said. “We needed to update the statute so this new type of legal professional could be fairly compensated for their work.”

Limited License Legal Technicians (LLLTs) are licensed by the Washington Supreme Court to advise and assist people going through divorce, child custody, and other family-law matters.

“Another good effect of this bill is that it will increase access to justice for victims of domestic violence, who often make up the bulk of an LLLT’s clientele,” Wilson added.

Both SB 6292 and SB 5213 now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.