“These measures are not about convenience; they are about saving lives”

REDMOND — Senate Deputy Majority Leader Manka Dhingra (D-Redmond) issued the following statement after Senate Republican leadership declined to sign off on the Governor’s request to extend emergency protections for survivors of domestic violence:

“I am shocked that my Republican colleagues in the Legislature are playing politics with the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

“The Governor’s ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ order has stemmed the tide of one pandemic, but if stripped of accompanying protections, it has the potential to unleash another. Domestic violence cases have been rising across the state since the beginning of the pandemic and are up 20 percent in King County.

“In the last two weeks alone, prosecutors in King County report, there have been three domestic-violence homicides, an attempted domestic-violence murder, and two officer-involved shootings because of domestic violence. When survivors are stuck inside with their abusers, home is not healthy—or safe.

“That’s why the Governor’s Proclamation 20-45 is so crucial. It allows survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking to file protection orders electronically and allows courts to legally notify respondents electronically.

“These measures are not about convenience; they are about saving lives.

“We do not want survivors caught between fear of venturing out to file an order and fear of another beating. We do not want protection orders that cannot be served because law enforcement does not have enough officers available to do the work.

“Judges, prosecutors, sheriffs, and police across Washington—including the Washington State Supreme Court, the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, and the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs—are telling us the same story: electronic service saves lives. In the short time since it has been implemented during this pandemic, Washington’s electronic service program has become a national model.

“Frankly, I cannot fathom how anyone could be so callous as to deliberately abandon domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking survivors during the greatest crisis of the last hundred years. Washington has some of the finest law enforcement professionals in the country. We ought to let them do their job: protecting the vulnerable. There is no excuse for playing politics with people’s lives.”

Related documents:

Letter from Legislative leaders on extension of proclamations

Joint letter of support from Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys and Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs

Letter of support from David Martin, Chair of Domestic Violence Unit, King County Prosecutor’s Office

Governor’s proclamation 20-45