Domestic Violence Legal Advocacy

What is Domestic Violence?

We call it domestic violence when there is a controlling pattern of intimidation, threat and abuse that escalates from individual, isolated acts into a series of multiple tactics and repeated events. Domestic violence is: (a) Physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault, between family or household members; (b) sexual assault of one family or household member by another; or (c) stalking of one family or household member by another family or household member.

Physical violence includes kicking, punching, shoving, slapping, or pushing in any way that hurts another person. Sexual violence includes any unwanted touching or fondling and forced or pressured sex at any time.

Even the threat of violence can result in someone feeling afraid and controlled. A raised fist, punching walls, kicking in doors, keeping someone awake all night, threatening to take children, hurting pets, destroying personal things, driving recklessly, isolating family members, or controlling resources like food, money, vehicles, credit or time can cause someone to feel fearful and threatened. Abusers often create complex rules that their partners and children must follow, and just as often, they change the rules.

People who are 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.

Need help?

Domestic Violence Legal Advocacy Programs

Providing community-based services for domestic violence victims in both the civil and criminal justice systems


The Domestic Violence Legal Advocacy program provides $1.2 million in state grants to community-based victim service agencies to: • Support at least 15 hours per week of legal advocacy for victims of domestic violence. • Provide for emergency needs, such as food, clothing, hotel and transportation vouchers, on a limited basis. • Train, support and provide technical assistance to legal advocates across the state.

Strategic Goal

Mobilize and enhance local assets that strengthen community ability to meet the economic and social needs of Washington’s families, workers and employers.

Fast Facts

  • Victims of domestic violence are more than four times more likely to be murdered than the general population.
  • Crime in Washington 2014 Annual Report recorded 49,360 domestic violence related offenses.
  • Legal advocacy services increase safety options for Washington families.

Program Links

Statutory Authority

Chapter 329, Laws of 2008, ESHB 2687 (Sec. 125 (3))

Program contact

Jodi Honeysett

If you are a victim of crime and are looking for services:
Direct Service Line: 1-800-822-1067