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As the only women's legal rights organization in the region, Legal Voice plays a crucial role in the lives of survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Gender-based violence is prevalent in our society and affects women in many ways, so ending it is no simple task. That is why our work goes beyond holding perpetrators accountable and focuses on improving the law to help survivors get and stay safe. Survivors often face roadblocks to safety in housing, employment, campuses, emergency rooms—even in courtrooms. Through litigation, legislative advocacy, and community education, we work tirelessly to eliminate those barriers and ensure survivors have access to safety and protections for themselves and their children.

WARNING: Some abusers may monitor your computer use and it can be difficult or impossible to cover your tracks.

  • If you are in danger, use a safe computer and contact your local domestic violence program for help.

  • See useful tips on Internet Security.

  • For more information and resources about domestic violence, please see Tools & Resources.

Sexual Violence Law


Legal Voice is home to Sexual Violence Law (SVL), a group of lawyers who provide holistic legal assistance and representation to survivors of sexual violence on emergency legal issues, including protection orders, immigration, housing, employment, Title IX, and victim rights in criminal cases.


Our SVL attorneys also provide technical assistance to providers and attorneys serving sexual assault survivors throughout Washington.


For legal support or technical assistance in Washington state, speak to an attorney on the

Legal Line:


Toll-free: (844) 991-7852 

(Monday - Friday, Business Hours)



  • Fighting to ensure that domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking survivors are able to obtain, enforce and keep effective civil protection orders against their abusers.

  • Advocating for the privacy rights of gender violence survivors and working to ensure that survivors are treated fairly and with dignity in court proceedings.

  • Advocating for domestic violence survivors whose abusers use the legal system to harass and control them by developing policies and judicial education materials to curb abusive litigation


  • Ensuring enforcement of laws that protect the workplace and housing rights of victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and/or stalking.

  • Fighting for paid sick and safe leave laws in all Northwest states so workers don’t lose wages when they miss work for reasons related to domestic violence, sexual assault, and/or stalking.

  • Investigating cases involving sexual violence on college campuses and supporting legislation to improve campus responses to such cases.

  • Advocating for enhanced strategies to address harassment and bullying in public schools.

  • Advocating for LGBTQ survivors of violence and harassment.



  • Led advocacy efforts for passage of a Washington law that allows a survivor who becomes pregnant as a result of rape to limit the parental rights of the person who raped her.
    HB 1543 - 2017 session


  • Successfully led advocacy efforts for passage of stronger criminal and civil laws to address non-consensual pornography in which a private, intimate image of a person is distributed by another person without consent.
    HB 1272 - 2015 session
    HB 2160 - 2015 session


  • Successfully advocating for legislation to ensure prompt testing of rape kits.
    HB 1068 - 2015 session


  • Winning protection for victims of anti-LGBTQ violence in Oregon.
    Christensen v. Bosket

  • Advocating for domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking survivors’ rights in the workplace.

    Danny v. Laidlaw

  • Protecting young women in schools from sexual harassment by their peers.
    Doe v. Everett School District


  • Changing the law to prohibit harassment in public schools and requiring the development of statewide guidelines against bullying, intimidation, and harassment.

  • Persuading the Montana Supreme Court to reverse a trial court judge’s 31-day jail sentence for a teacher who raped a 14-year-old student, and to reassign the case to a new judge; the teacher was resentenced to 10 years in jail.
    State v. Rambold


  • Extending statutes of limitations in Montana and Washington so adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse can sue their abusers.

  • Successfully advocating to overturn a Washington trial court order that would have forced a sexual assault survivor to take a polygraph examination regarding the survivor’s allegations.
    State & A.W. v. Finch


  • Working with our allies to pass a Washington state law to prohibit gun possession or sales to abusers who are subject to domestic violence protection orders.
    HB 1840 - 2014 session

  • Winning reversal of a Spokane court’s order that would have forced a pregnant domestic violence survivor to tell her abuser when she went into labor and to allow him to access to the child in the hospital.

  • Helping to pass a law to prevent domestic violence victims from having to disclose their addresses and other confidential information to their abusers when they are in family court.
    HB 2363 - 2012 session


  • Successfully advocating in the Washington Legislature to overturn a state Supreme Court decision that dangerously eroded the ability of domestic violence survivors to keep permanent protection orders against their abusers.
    HB 1565 - 2011 session


  • Keeping Washington's protection order process accessible for victims of domestic violence by defeating a challenge to the law's constitutionality.
    Gourley v. Gourley


  • Changing Washington law to create a protection order process that allows a victim of domestic violence to get a protection order requiring the abuser to stay away from her and her children.

  • Successfully advocating for a law creating a new protection order specifically for victims of sexual assault.

  • Successfully advocating in the Washington Supreme Court to hold law enforcement accountable for failing to adequately protect domestic violence survivors when serving civil protection orders.
    Washburn v. City of Federal Way


  • Changing Washington law to allow victims of violence or stalking who need to quit their jobs because of the violence or stalking to receive unemployment compensation.
    HB 1248 - 2002 session


  • Working with our allies to convince the Seattle City Council to adopt an ordinance requiring most employers to provide paid leave for sick and safe days, including leave that may be used as “safe time” to deal with the consequences of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

  • Obtaining a favorable settlement for our client in the first lawsuit brought under Washington’s Domestic Violence Leave Act requiring employers to provide workers who are victims of domestic violence with reasonable leave to go to court or to take other steps to get safe.

  • Successfully defending a woman against abusive litigation filed by her ex-husband.
    Webster v. Webster


  • Filing and settling lawsuits on behalf of women who alleged sexual assault or sexual harassment by their landlords.

  • Persuading the Washington Court of Appeals to overturn a decision terminating the parental rights of a mother who had been a victim of domestic violence.
    In re the Dependency of B.R. and T.V.


  • Drafting and helping pass groundbreaking legislation requiring hospital emergency rooms to provide emergency birth control to sexual assault survivors.

  • Protecting battered immigrant women and gaining federal judicial recognition of the realities of domestic violence.
    Hernandez v. Ashcroft


  • Successfully urging the Montana Supreme Court, in the first case of its kind in the nation, to recognize that when a battered woman and her children have fled to another state, a court must consider domestic violence as a reason to let the court of the other state determine child custody issues.
    Stoneman v. Drollinger


  • Ensuring that battered women do not lose marital property as punishment for seeking restraining orders against their husbands.
    Gilbert v. Muhammad


  • Convincing the Alaska Supreme Court that post-traumatic stress disorder caused by domestic violence is a medical condition protected by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.
    Gregg v. Anchorage


  • Successfully urging courts to recognize Battered Woman Syndrome as a defense to crimes against batterers.
    State v. Allery
    State v. Ciskie
    Blog: Recognizing Battered Woman Syndrome as a Defense by Judith Bendor


  • Writing and helping to pass a law that protects victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking from housing discrimination and allows them to terminate their leases early without penalty.
    HB 1645 - 2004 session


  • Expanding a Washington law to provide greater protections for tenants who are victims of sexual assault or unlawful harassment by their landlords or their landlords’ employees.
    HB 1856 - 2009 session

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