Brown’s bill aims to protect domestic violence victims

Senate votes unanimously to approve ‘commonsense’ safety measure   

The Senate has unanimously approved Sen. Sharon Brown’s bill to alert domestic-violence victims when their abusers are paroled, furloughed or otherwise released back into the public.

“This is a commonsense reform that would result in greater protection for the victims of domestic violence, who are often subject to long histories of repeated abuses and whose abusers are among the most likely for recidivism,” said Brown, R-Kennewick. “It’s a simple tweak that could do a lot of good for victim safety.”

Under the victim and witness notification program, the state Department of Corrections sends written notice of parole, release, community custody, work release placement, furlough, or escape to certain persons. Except for escape and emergency furloughs, such notice must be provided at least 30 days in advance. This notice requirement applies to incarcerated individuals convicted of a violent offense, a sex offense, certain court order violations, or felony harassment.

Under Substitute Senate Bill 5245, that list would be expanded to include those inmates convicted of domestic violence, assault in the third degree, unlawful imprisonment, vehicular homicide by disregard for the safety of others, or controlled substance homicide.

“This bill is critical to giving domestic-violence victims the notification and time they need to secure protection orders, relocate or take other measures to protect themselves and potentially their children,” said Brown. “I’m pleased to see my colleagues in the Senate show unanimous support for this important measure.”

The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for that chamber’s consideration.