July 28, 2022

Support for Survivors in Court

Court proceedings can be difficult for survivors, through the emotions, barriers, and bureaucracy of the process. RCW 7.105 aims to provide some relief during this process by allowing survivors to receive more support while in court. 


Support Persons In Court

Survivors can now bring a person of their choosing to provide emotional support for them in court. This can be a friend, sibling, advocate, or anyone so long as they don’t work for the government, which could provide a conflict of interest.

Survivors can speak to their support person during the hearing just as they would be able to speak with legal counsel. However, support persons and advocates are not permitted to give legal advice or serve as an interpreter.

Virtual Appearances In Court

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, courts have been allowing folks to appear via Zoom. This new law makes that change permanent, allowing for most cases to be handled remotely.

If the Court schedules the hearing in person, and you would like to request a remote or by phone hearing, you must request a virtual option at least 3 Court days before the hearing. The Court prefers to use Zoom for virtual hearings, but if there are special circumstances (i.e. safety concerns with video) you can request a hearing by phone.


Interpreters & Legal Services

RCW 7.105 also pushes courts to provide better translation services. If someone needs translation services or accommodation and can’t provide a certified translator, one will be provided for them by the court.

Interpreters… 

  • Must be certified, credentialed, or qualified. 
  • Can’t also serve as an advocate for the survivor. 
  • Can’t serve as an interpreter for both sides when not speaking on the record. 

In addition to providing an interpreter, the court must provide legal counsel to the survivor if they are not currently represented and the other party has a lawyer to represent them. 


Learn More

To dive deeper into the other changes that RCW 7.105 brings to the definition of domestic violence and the process for filing protection orders check out our other blog, New Domestic Violence Law in Effect July 1st

By: Rachel Dannen

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