WA House unanimously approves Mosbrucker bill to protect domestic violence survivors from further abuse

A bipartisan measure that would ensure the Department of Corrections (DOC) supervise repeat domestic violence offenders and protect survivors from being stalked and abused gained unanimous support Tuesday in the state House of Representatives.

House Bill 2048, authored by Rep. Gina Mosbrucker, R-Goldendale, would close a loophole in state law that has allowed felony domestic violent repeat offenders upon release from prison to go after their victims because they have had no supervision.

“We want to give the Department of Corrections all the tools they need to properly supervise these offenders,” said Mosbrucker. “Most people who suffer domestic violence are brave and strong, but they are often also broken.”

The bill would remove the words “pleaded and proven” as a requirement before supervision of domestic violent offenders could be enacted.

“There is an expectation from lawyers, judges and victims in domestic violence cases there will be supervision by the Department of Corrections, based on the understanding of the law, written agreements and court orders. Unfortunately, the reality of what happens is all too often different,” said Mosbrucker. “When they are not supervised, the damage that is done, especially to the survivor, traumatizes them again.

“Fear follows crime. The fear of a domestic violence survivor who has been traumatized by an abuser is real. They are constantly wondering if and when they will suffer further abuse if a felony repeat offender is released. If there is no supervision, there is no one to stop the violent felon from pursuing the victim,” added Mosbrucker. “This bill would close this loophole, ensure supervision for the felon, and safety and healing of the survivor.”

The measure would also require an audit of DOC supervisory obligations with respect to specified domestic violence offenses. The audit and report would cover the time between July 1, 2022, and June 30, 2024, and would identify the number of individuals under court-ordered supervision, the number of individuals for who supervision was ordered but has not occurred, and the reason why DOC did not undertake supervision. A report would be due to the Legislature by Dec. 1, 2024.

The bill passed the House 97-0. It now goes to the Senate for further consideration.

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