SB 5631 creates a statewide network of supportive services, emergency shelter services, domestic violence information and referral resource, and advocacy for victims and their dependents. The services will be culturally relevant and appropriate for populations that have been traditionally unserved or underserved.
Communities will also be assisted in efforts to increase public awareness about, and prevention of domestic violence. Promising practices related to prevention and intervention, along with ongoing training and technical assistance for individuals working with victims in community-based domestic violence programs (nonprofit programs and organizations who primarily provide assistance and advocacy for domestic violence victims) will be provided.
DSHS is responsible for developing and maintaining a plan for delivering services to domestic violence victims, in consultation with groups and state departments experienced in domestic violence, and providing services to children exposed to domestic violence. DSHS distributes funds to community-based domestic violence programs, and developing an evaluating process for these programs.
Additionally, the bill establishes the disclosure of domestic violence program records is not a waiver of the victim’s rights under statutes, rules of evidence, or common law. If disclosure is required by court order, the program must make reasonable attempts to provide notice to the person(s) affected by the disclosure, and should take steps to protect their privacy and safety.
County auditors or recording officers must collect the fee for issuing marriage licenses, plus $15 to be deposited into the domestic violence prevention account. For parties filing for dissolution, legal separation, or declaration concerning the validity of marriage, the fee is $30, where $24 goes to the domestic violence prevention account, and the remaining $6 is retained by the county to support community-based domestic violence services. This money may be used to supplement other federal, state, and local funds for community-based domestic violence services. If the remaining $6 is not allocated within six months of collection, the funds must be deposited in the domestic violence prevention account.
DSHS is authorized, subject to the availability of state funds, to make available grants awarded on a contract basis to an entity with expertise in domestic violence policy and education, and gathering and maintaining data relating to domestic violence fatalities.
Finally, SB 5631 repeals contracts with nonprofit organizations and technical assistance grant program—local communities.
This is the companion bill the HB 1729.
Human Services, Mental Health and Housing Amendment: As amended, SB 5631 removes the $15 surcharge from marriage licenses and added to dissolution filings. The surcharge expires June 30, 2016. The money will be deposited into the DV Prevention Account. WSIPP will review community-based domestic violence victims' services nationwide and determine which programs are the most effective and most efficient in improving the capacity of individuals, governmental entities, and communities to provide effective, supportive services and interventions to address domestic and dating violence from the victims' perspective. A report to the Legislature is due December 31, 2015. The act, other than the WSIPP study, is effective July 1, 2016.