Megan was raped by another student at her university and, like many other victims of campus sexual assault, she had to continue attending the same school as him. When she continued to see him on campus and grew fearful, she petitioned the court for a sexual assault protection order.
But the trial court denied Megan’s petition, claiming she had no reasonable fear of future dangerous acts by the man who attacked her. Legal Voice and our allies at Northwest Justice Project filed a “friend of the court” brief in this case, Roake v. Delman, encouraging the Washington State Court of Appeals (Division 1) to reverse this decision and interpret the sexual assault protection order statute as it was intended: to ensure protection is readily available for survivors.
And they did! The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court, and held that proof of the sexual assault – without separate proof of fear of future dangerous acts – is enough for the court to grant a victim a protection order. We are pleased that Megan’s pursuit of safety has led to this positive result and will stand by her as her case goes back to the trial court.
We will also continue our work in Washington courts and in the Legislature to strengthen the sexual assault protection order law, and ensure that it does its job: protects the safety of people who have been raped.