What is Domestic Violence?
In Washington State, domestic violence is defined as a family or household member committing crime against another family or household member. Domestic violence can be physical, emotional or sexual abuse. It's rarely a one-time incident and often becomes a pattern of behavior. Domestic Violence can take many forms, some of which are illegal. Several crimes are specifically named as acts of domestic violence including:
- Malicious mischief
- Violating protection or no contact orders
Domestic violence is often mistaken as someone losing their temper or mutual fighting in a relationship. Domestic Violence is NOT about getting angry or arguing – but it is about power and control. Abuse is a learned behavior; it's not caused by anger, mental problems, drugs or alcohol, or other common issues.
If You are the Victim of Domestic Violence
If you are the victim of domestic violence, you can ask the city or county Prosecuting Attorney to file a criminal complaint. You also have the right to file a petition in superior, district, or municipal court requesting an order for protection from domestic abuse which could include any of the following:
- An order restraining the abuser from further acts of abuse
- An order directing the abuser to leave your household
- An order preventing the abuser from entering your residence, school, business, or place of employment
- An order awarding you or the other parent custody of or visitation with your minor child or children
- An order restraining the abuser from molesting or interfering with minor children in your custody. The forms you need to obtain a protection order are available in any municipal, district or superior court.
If Your Partner was Arrested for a Crime
If your partner was arrested for a crime, you can sign up on the internet to be notified when there is a change in custody status or they are released from custody. Once register with SAVIN (Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification) you will receive a telephone and/or email notification when the offender's custody status changes.
If You are Abusing Your Partner
If you are abusing your partner, or if she feels that you are abusing her, you should:
- Recognize that your behavior is a choice at all times
- Stop blaming ANYTHING you do on her -- you are 100% responsible for your own actions
- Read Violent No More by Michael Paymar
The Walla Walla area has certified batterers treatment programs available for men who abuse women; if you haven't used physical violence yet, don't wait until you do, contact your local provider today.