2005 Washington Revised Code RCW 26.50.030: Petition for an order for protection — Availability of forms and informational brochures — Bond not required.

    There shall exist an action known as a petition for an order for protection in cases of domestic violence.

         (1) A petition for relief shall allege the existence of domestic violence, and shall be accompanied by an affidavit made under oath stating the specific facts and circumstances from which relief is sought. Petitioner and respondent shall disclose the existence of any other litigation concerning the custody or residential placement of a child of the parties as set forth in RCW 26.27.281 and the existence of any other restraining, protection, or no-contact orders between the parties.

         (2) A petition for relief may be made regardless of whether or not there is a pending lawsuit, complaint, petition, or other action between the parties except in cases where the court realigns petitioner and respondent in accordance with RCW 26.50.060(4).

         (3) Within ninety days of receipt of the master copy from the administrative office of the courts, all court clerk's offices shall make available the standardized forms, instructions, and informational brochures required by RCW 26.50.035 and shall fill in and keep current specific program names and telephone numbers for community resources. Any assistance or information provided by clerks under this section does not constitute the practice of law and clerks are not responsible for incorrect information contained in a petition.

         (4) No filing fee may be charged for proceedings under this section. Forms and instructional brochures shall be provided free of charge.

         (5) A person is not required to post a bond to obtain relief in any proceeding under this section.

    [2005 c 282 § 39; 1996 c 248 § 12; 1995 c 246 § 3; 1992 c 111 § 2; 1985 c 303 § 2; 1984 c 263 § 4.]

         Severability -- 1995 c 246: See note following RCW 26.50.010.

         Findings -- 1992 c 111: "The legislature finds that:

         Domestic violence is a problem of immense proportions affecting individuals as well as communities. Domestic violence has long been recognized as being at the core of other major social problems: Child abuse, other crimes of violence against person or property, juvenile delinquency, and alcohol and drug abuse. Domestic violence costs millions of dollars each year in the state of Washington for health care, absence from work, services to children, and more. The crisis is growing.

         While the existing protection order process can be a valuable tool to increase safety for victims and to hold batterers accountable, specific problems in its use have become evident. Victims have difficulty completing the paperwork required particularly if they have limited English proficiency; model forms have been modified to be inconsistent with statutory language; different forms create confusion for law enforcement agencies about the contents and enforceability of orders. Refinements are needed so that victims have the easy, quick, and effective access to the court system envisioned at the time the protection order process was first created.

         When courts issue mutual protection orders without the filing of separate written petitions, notice to each respondent, and hearing on each petition, the original petitioner is deprived of due process. Mutual protection orders label both parties as violent and treat both as being equally at fault: Batterers conclude that the violence is excusable or provoked and victims who are not violent are confused and stigmatized. Enforcement may be ineffective and mutual orders may be used in other proceedings as evidence that the victim is equally at fault.

         Valuable information about the reported incidents of domestic violence in the state of Washington is unobtainable without gathering data from all law enforcement agencies; without this information, it is difficult for policymakers, funders, and service providers to plan for the resources and services needed to address the issue.

         Domestic violence must be addressed more widely and more effectively in our state: Greater knowledge by professionals who deal frequently with domestic violence is essential to enforce existing laws, to intervene in domestic violence situations that do not come to the attention of the law enforcement or judicial systems, and to reduce and prevent domestic violence by intervening before the violence becomes severe.

         Adolescent dating violence is occurring at increasingly high rates: Preventing and confronting adolescent violence is important in preventing potential violence in future adult relationships." [1992 c 111 § 1.]

         Effective date -- 1985 c 303 §§ 1, 2: See note following RCW 26.50.020.

    Child abuse, temporary restraining order: RCW 26.44.063.

    Orders prohibiting contact: RCW 10.99.040.

    Temporary restraining order: RCW 26.09.060.

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