Survivors of domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault, and others with civil protections orders against their abuser will have a little less to worry about once a new Hope Card program takes effect.
“Survivors have enough to worry about,” said Rep. Dan Griffey, R-Allyn, the prime sponsor of the bill. “Already, so many advantages go to the abuser. This is one advantage we can give to the survivors. It's a passport to their life. It's a passport to hope.”
House Bill 1766 will create the Hope Card program – electronic, scannable cards that will contain most of the information from a full protection order. Currently, survivors with protection orders must carry with them the large legal document hard copies of protection orders in case they need it to prove to police they have such an order or to protect themselves against someone violating that order.
During a public hearing on the bill, stalking survivor and bill co-sponsor Rep. Lauren Davis, D-Shoreline, warned that judges in Washington state issue roughly 20,000 protection orders every year, noting that in 2021 those orders were violated 15,000 times.
WATCH: Rep. Griffey speak on the Hope Card in committee.
Jamie Sullivan has been dealing with her stalker for nearly eight years. She and her now teenage daughter have lived in fear of her ex-boyfriend who has placed a GPS monitoring device under her car and worse. Both Sullivan and her daughter are covered by the permanent protection order and must carry the large legal documents at work and school in case something happens, and they must prove they have a protection order against him.
“The Hope Card will make things easier for both of us and be one less stress in our lives in what has been an eight-year ordeal,” said Sullivan. “The card isn't revolutionary. It's just a small patch to fill a gap in the system but that's important because every time a gap exists someone falls through.”
Sullivan and her daughter attended the bill-signing ceremony with Rep. Griffey on May 4.
“Fighting for survivors is what brought me to Olympia. I am so happy to see this bipartisan bill cross the finish line, and that I can help make the lives of those living this reality like Jamie a little easier,” said Griffey. “I will continue to fight until we tip the scales in the right direction.”
The Hope Card program is expected to be available in 2025.