Domestic Violence Legal Advocacy

People suffering in battering relationships come from every part of life. One’s level of education, financial security, race or ethnic group, sexual orientation, physical or mental ability, immigration status, religion, or marital status does not protect any of us from experiencing domestic violence. It occurs in relationships where the partners are married, never married, dating, living together, separated or divorced. It happens when there are children in the family, and when there aren’t any children. Domestic violence occurs when people have been together a long time, or just a short time. All of these circumstances can make it harder for a victim to get help or get out of the situation.

The Office of Crime Victims Advocacy is supporting legal advocacy work for victims of domestic violence so that victims and their families will know their options, thereby increasing their safety. The legal system is a significant component in the overall response to domestic violence. Domestic violence victims and their children often become involved in legal cases. The legal system can be confusing and overwhelming to navigate for those not familiar with it. Having someone familiar with the system can help survivors analyze potential risks and benefits of various legal options. A legal advocate can help survivors plan for their safety and well-being throughout the process.  Statistics show that this can reduce lethality risks and increase safety for those impacted by domestic violence.

  • 4,694 victims of domestic violence and their children received legal advocacy services in state fiscal year 2021
  • 59,289 domestic-violence-related offenses recorded in the 2020 Crime in Washington Annual Report

The Domestic Violence Legal Advocacy Program provided $1.2 million in grants to community-based victim service agencies in state fiscal year 2021.  The grants supported:

  • Part-time legal advocates in 48 community-based domestic violence programs
  • At least 15 hours a week of legal advocacy for victims of domestic violence in each county
  • Emergency needs such as food, clothing, lodging and transportation vouchers on a limited basis
  • Training and technical assistance to legal advocates across the state.
  • 5 tribal programs and 5 other community-based agencies serving culturally specific or other marginalized communities.
  • The Washington Indian Civil Rights Commission to gather feedback to help inform the program on how to dismantle barriers in the future.

 Statutory Authority:  RCW 43.280.080: Office of crime victims advocacy