The legal definition of domestic violence does not include all of the types of controlling behavior abusers may use in a relationship. Many actions that are abusive—and which reinforce an abuser’s coercive control over the survivor—are not illegal.
Domestic violence is defined in Washington State law in RCW 26.50.010 and RCW 10.99.020.
We do not provide direct advocacy or legal advice/representation for victims. Please contact your local domestic violence advocacy program to learn about legal services in your community and check out the legal services and self-help resources listed below.
- Northwest Justice Project
- Northwest Immigrant Rights Project
- National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women
- Washington State Bar Association Moderate Means Program – This program helps those who have middle or moderate incomes find lawyers who are willing to offer legal assistance at reduced rates.
Legal information and self-help resources
- Washington Law Help
- WomensLaw.org – a project of the National Network to End Domestic Violence
- Legal Voice self-help tools
- Washington State Courts – This site contains information about how courts work, can help you find your local court, and has a collection of required court forms.
- Crime Victims Compensation Program – This program assists victims of crime; online application now available.
- Address Confidentiality Program (ACP) – this program assists victims who have relocated to avoid further abuse. The ACP helps participants keep their new location secret by providing a substitute address they can use instead.
- Revised Code of Washington – This government site contains the full text of all Washington State laws.
- Information about Domestic Violence Protection Orders
- Domestic Violence Manual for Judges (WA State, released 2016)
- Family Violence Appellate Project’s Washington Resource Library
Washington State offers many types of protective orders to survivors of abuse. This collection of resources offer information on the different types of orders and help understanding the range of options available.
It’s tough to get divorced or deal with child custody when your partner is abusive. Here is a collection of information and resources to help you learn about the options available.
For more information, please visit our Legal Advocacy Project page or search the “Legal” topic in our Resource Library.