Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior, which is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over the other. Domestic violence is incredibly prevalent, but also incredibly secretive. Because abusers are often charming, likable, and charismatic, it can be nearly impossible for outsiders – even close friends and family members – to recognize when domestic violence is occurring within a relationship.
When most people hear the term “domestic violence,” they think of physical or sexual abuse, but it is often far more complex. Many abusers don’t have to lay a hand on their victims to instill terror in them; instead, they weaponize emotions and finances. Emotional abuse is coercive behavior that manipulates, humiliates, or isolates. Financial abuse – often used in conjunction with other forms of abuse – includes controlling access to employment, transportation, bank accounts, and credit cards, such that a victim is dependent on her abuser for survival. To address these abuses, the Washington State Legislature has enacted the Domestic Violence Prevention Act to provide survivors with “easy, quick, and effective access” to domestic violence protection orders.
Northwest Advocacy Foundation strives to help survivors of domestic violence in a compassionate, respectful, and effective manner. Domestic violence is unique, as the effects of being a survivor can be long-lasting and severe. Our attorneys understand this, and have participated in extensive training on working with victims of domestic violence, the impact of domestic violence on children, and how survivors respond differently to trauma. We aim to support survivors as they embark on often life-changing courses. We assist and represent petitioners with:
- Petitioning for a domestic violence protection order;
- Obtaining an emergency temporary domestic violence protection order;
- Preparing for a hearing (including full representation or offering advice for self-representation);
- Renewing a domestic violence protection order; and
- Enforcement of court orders (contempt)
We recognize that obtaining a Domestic Violence Protection Order is often just the first step for survivors. To that end, we also try to help clients locate the services they may need, including community advocates, counseling, and transitional housing.