SEXUAL ASSAULT PROTECTION OREDRS UNDER WASHINGTON LAW
A sexual assault protection order, sometimes referred to as a “SAPO,” is a civil order issued by a court at the request of a sexual assault victim or by someone else on his or her behalf. Persons filing these orders essentially ask the court to tell another person to stay away from them, their home, school, work, or other place specifically named in the order. Any person 16 years of age or older who is a victim of sexual assault may seek to obtain a sexual assault protection order. One may seek an order even if the sexual assault forming the basis for the order was not reported to law enforcement authorities.
An often-asked question in these cases is how Washington law defines “sexual assault”? The law defines sexual assault as:
- Nonconsensual sexual touching of the genitals, anus, or breasts – either directly or through clothing.
- Nonconsensual sexual penetration, however slight, of the genitals or anus by a body part of another including the mouth or the use of objects.
- Forced display of the genitals, anus or breasts for the purpose of sexually arousing another.
Please know that either the person requesting this order, or, the person fighting it may bring a motion to modify or terminate the order. A judge will decide at a hearing whether to grant the motion.