Two bills by Rep. Gina Mosbruckeraimed at providing tools to help domestic violence victims escape their abusers and recognize the need for medical help passed the Washington State House of Representatives Wednesday with unanimous votes. A third domestic violence bill introduced by Mosbrucker passed earlier.
House Bill 1056 would create a Joint Legislative Task Force to identify the role of the workplace in helping curb domestic violence.
“As I toured through the 14th District this summer, I learned many things about domestic violence, including the fact that when victims go to work, it’s not just to earn a paycheck. They’re going because it’s a safe place,” saidMosbrucker, R-Goldendale. “If that’s the one place they feel safe throughout the day away from the perpetrator, I think we need to see how we can help as a business community and as employers.”
The 16-member task force would be composed of a legislator from each caucus, representatives of business, labor, tribes, victims’ coalitions and a survivor of domestic violence. The task force would provide recommendations to the Legislature by Dec. 1, 2019.
The second measure, House Bill 1532, would provide information to domestic violence victims about the signs and symptoms of traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
“Traumatic brain injuries are a kind of injury you just can’t see. Between 60 to 90 percent of domestic violence victims have a traumatic brain injury and most of them don’t know it,” saidMosbrucker. “This bill takes steps to help domestic violence victims recognize whether they are suffering from a traumatic brain injury. It educates them so they can get the help they need.”
Under the bill, the Department of Social and Health Services would work with the Washington Traumatic Brain Injury Strategic Partnership Advisory Council to develop a statewide website for domestic violence victims with information regarding TBI. It would increase law enforcement training to recognize the signs and symptoms of TBI and encourage officers responding to domestic violence incidents to inform victims of the website.
“One-in-three people are the survivors of domestic violence inflicted by an intimate partner. More than 54,000 domestic violence offenses were reported to law enforcement agencies in Washington in 2017. People’s lives are at risk and we need to begin talking openly about this and addressing the issue,” added Mosbrucker.
A third measure, House Bill 1533, passed the House Feb. 20. It would require the state’s Employment Security Department to create a poster with information about domestic violence resources that could be displayed in the workplace.
All three bills are now under consideration in the Senate.