What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence is a pattern of physical and/or emotional abuse which is used to control another person with whom the abusive person has an intimate or family relationship. RCW 26.50.010 defines "domestic violence" as "(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 members by another; or (c) stalking as defined in RCW 9A.46.100 of one family or household member by another family or household member."
Is domestic violence a crime?
Generally, yes. Domestic violence can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor assault (i.e., gross misdemeanor), punishable by jail time or prison time or both. This is in addition to fines, penalties, and other related fees.
What can I do to protect myself and/or my child(ren) from d.v.?
Both the criminal justice system and the civil legal system can assist you in protecting yourself and your child(ren) from d.v. through Court Orders. On the criminal side, they're commonly referred to as "No Contact Orders". On the civil side, they're referred to as "Protection Orders". Victims of d.v. can also seek assistance from your local d.v. shelter, which, in addition to providing temporary shelter, also provides safety planning, counseling, and even legal assistance.