All too often, survivors of domestic violence come up against continued emotional and psychological abuse during the process of taking legal action against their abusers. One way that abusers continue to control and harass their victims is through retaliatory litigation following domestic abuse claims, child custody cases, and protection orders.
Lawsuits Meant to Intimidate Aren’t Legal in Washington State
Lawsuits that are meant to censor and intimidate – and lawsuits that the filer does not intend to win – are referred to as strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPP). Luckily, Washington is one of a handful of states that has anti-SLAPP laws – legislation that protects people against lawsuits that are simply filed to silence them, harass them, or slow down the legal process through legal threats.
While many anti-SLAPP motions deal with consumer conduct and community speech, some are related to lawsuits filed in response to other lawsuits. For example, a man may file a defamation lawsuit against a woman who has filed a restraining order. Even if he doesn’t plan on winning the defamation lawsuit, he does succeed in intimidating the woman. Under Washington’s anti-SLAPP laws, a person must now prove that their domestic violence-related lawsuits are filed in good faith and not because they want to complicate the legal process or engage in abusive litigation.
At the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny, we understand that emotional abuse, verbal abuse, and psychological abuse often doesn’t end when you move out of the house, hire a lawyer, or file a protection order. We can help you navigate your domestic violence case while making certain that your rights are protected and that you have the best possible outcome.
To learn more about your case, and to speak with a Bellevue domestic abuse lawyer, call us today at (425) 460-0550 to schedule an appointment.