This Washington

Domestic Violence Legislation Passes Senate

By Erica C. Barnett April 7, 2011

Fizz was so excited about state Rep. David Frockt's win on coal tar sealants this morning (the bill, which passed the senate yesterday after passing the house in February, would make Washington the first state in the nation to ban polluting and potentially carcinogenic coal tar sealants that are used to patch up roads and playgrounds), we neglected to mention another big win for the Seattle freshman yesterday: The senate also passed Frockt's legislation clarifying the burden of proof for lifting domestic violence protective orders.

Currently, state law is vague on the question of which party---the abuser or the victim---bears the burden of proof in petitions to lift DV protective orders, allowing courts to require the victim to prove the abuser is still a threat.

Frockt's proposal would place the burden squarely on the abuser to prove he or she is not a threat. It lays out a number of specific factors a court can consider when decided whether to lift a protective order, including whether the abuser has offended again, whether the abuser has admitted he or she was responsible for the acts of domestic violence, and whether the victim agrees that the order should be terminated, among several other factors.

The legislation, which passed 48-0 (with one senator absent), now heads back to the house for final passage.
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