Domestic Violence

If you are named as a victim of a domestic violence crime that is being prosecuted in Blaine Municipal Court, this information may be helpful to you.

Contact the Domestic Violence Specialist (link to contact info) Caryl Dunavan, Domestic Violence Specialist working with the prosecutors in the Cities of Blaine, Everson / Nooksack, Ferndale, Lynden, and Sumas

phone / text (360) 815-2928

Email Caryl Dunavan

  • To find out about court hearings, No Contact Orders, and other conditions of jail release or sentencing,
  • For support during a court hearing,
  • For information about domestic violence, and for help creating a safety plan and finding community resources,
  • For help asking the court to impose, change or terminate a No Contact Order
  • For information about your rights as a victim of a crime, including your rights and options if you are contacted by the defense attorney, view the "Rights of victims, survivors, and witnesses" online.
  • For help preparing or presenting a Victim Impact Statement at sentencing, LINK to Victim Impact Statement documents
  • To inform the prosecutor of your concerns or wishes for the outcome of this case,
  • For help preparing a request to the court for financial restitution for damages caused by this crime,
  • For help applying for Washington State Crime Victims Compensation

Who is "pressing charges"?

When a person is charged with a crime in the City of Blaine, the charges are filed by the Prosecutor, who represents the City. You can't "press charges." You also can't drop the charges – they are not your charges. The criminal case is between the defendant (the person arrested and/or charged with a crime) and the City of Blaine. If you were identified as a victim of a crime, you have certain rights under Washington State law (see below). However, you are not responsible for the criminal case, and you do not have any control over what happens with the case.

The Domestic Violence Specialist will work with the prosecutor to help you to be informed and to have a voice in this process where possible. You can talk to the Domestic Violence Specialist about the ways the case affects you and your family, and what your hopes and concerns are for the outcome of the case.

You are not responsible for your partner's choice to use violence against you. Domestic violence is a pattern of emotional, verbal, psychological, physical, and/or sexual tactics or stalking behaviors used by one person to gain power and control over another person, usually their partner or spouse. If your partner or spouse is not treating you well, you may be feeling trapped, isolated, frightened, angry, depressed, and/or discouraged. There are many places where you can find help and information, including free and confidential hotlines, support groups, and websites. Some of these are listed below.
"Domestic violence" is also a label that can be added to certain crimes (including assault, property damage, harassment, threats, violation of court orders, stalking, trespass) when committed against someone the defendant is related to, lived with, had a child with, or dated.

RCW 10.99.020

No matter what the circumstances, the only person who can decide to stop the violence is the person who is being violent. If someone has had a pattern of being emotionally, verbally, physically, or sexually abusive, it will take a lot of time and hard work for them to change. They may never change. The only way to know if they are truly changing is to see what they actually do, not just what they promise to do.

You are not alone. You can call an advocate for support 24 hours a day at Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services in Whatcom County at (360) 715-1563. Se habla Español. Outside Whatcom County, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY). More information is listed below, under Domestic Violence Hotlines, Shelters, and Support Groups.

Calling for help: You can call 911 from any cell phone that is charged up and turned on – even if it has no minutes or calling plan. Call 911 immediately to report any violation of a No Contact Order or Protection Order. It is also illegal for a person charged with a crime to try to pressure or manipulate a victim or witness to that crime; please call 911 to report any attempted witness tampering. Please save any messages, records of calls, or other evidence of any violations.

To find out if someone is still in jail, and to be notified when they are released:

Whatcom County Jail Inmate Databases

Click VINE button next to inmate name, and follow the prompts to set up an alert to notify you when this person is released.

What to expect when someone gets out of jail:

No Contact Order: In most cases of domestic violence (including assault or property damage), the court or the jail will issue a No Contact Order which prohibits the defendant from contacting or coming near the person identified as the victim of that crime, and from coming within a certain distance of the victim's residence or workplace.

"Civil Standby": The No Contact Order will usually allow the person who was arrested to have a "Civil Standby" where they can go back to their home for one brief time (15-20 minutes) while accompanied by police, to pick up essential clothing, toiletries, or work tools that they need immediately.

No Contact Orders

A No Contact Order is a court order, generally signed by a judge, which prohibits the defendant in a criminal case from communicating with or coming near another person. It can order the defendant to stay a certain distance away from the protected person's home, workplace, or vehicle. It can also spell out certain limited contact that may be allowed.

To ask the court to Modify or Rescind (terminate) a No Contact Order, contact the Domestic Violence Specialist (link to contact info)

Blaine Court policy for victim requests to modify or rescind No Contact Orders (Link)

Motion form (Link)

Do I have to come to court?

Only if you received a court order, summons, or subpoena that requires you to appear in court.

If there is a No Contact Order in effect, am I allowed to come to court? If you are the person protected by the No Contact Order, you are allowed to be in the courtroom for the defendant's hearings. However, the defendant is not allowed to communicate with you or sit near you. Please call the Domestic Violence Specialist for more information. The Domestic Violence Specialist will attend most court hearings and can let you know whatever happens if you do not want to come to court.

What are my rights as a victim of a crime?

What are my rights as a tenant?

Under Washington State law, as a victim of domestic violence you may have the right to have your locks changed, to break a lease, and to be protected from discrimination based on being a victim of domestic violence. Some of these rights depend on whether you have made a report to a "qualifying third party," whether a protection order was issued, and whether you provide written notice to your landlord within a certain time period. Please read carefully and contact the Domestic Violence Specialist for more information.

What are my rights at work?

Washington State allows victims of domestic violence to take time off from work for court, medical or counseling appointments, or to take care of certain emergency needs resulting from the violence. To take this leave you must notify your employer that you have been a victim of domestic violence and that you need time off from work for certain specific purposes. Your employer is not required to pay you for your time off, but they are not allowed to discipline you for using this leave. Please read this information carefully and contact the Domestic Violence Specialist for more information.

What are my rights as an immigrant to the United States?

Violencia Domestica: Preguntas y respuestas para mujeres refugiadas e inmigrantes

Domestic Violence Hotlines, Shelters, and Support Groups

  • 24-hour free and confidential support
  • information about emergency shelters, support groups, legal advocacy, and children's programs,
  • help obtaining a civil Domestic Violence Protection Order

Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services

(360) 715-1563 or 1-877-715-1563

DVAS Website

Lummi Victims of Crime

(360) 312-2015

Lummi Victims of Crime on Facebook

Nooksack Tribe Domestic Violence Program

(360) 927-1675

(360) 325-2693

National Domestic Violence Hotline

1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)

National Domestic Violence Hotline Website

The NW Network of Bisexual, Trans, Lesbian and Gay Survivors of Abuse

(206) 568-7777

NW Network Website

Abused Deaf Women's Advocacy Services / National Deaf Hotline Center


ADWAS Website

API Chaya: serving survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence, and human trafficking in the Asian, South Asian, and Pacific Islander communities.

(206) 325-0325


These websites have more information about domestic violence:

DVAS Website

WSCADV Website

Love Is Respect Website

NW Network Page

Stalking Resource Center

Stalking Resource Center Website

Stalking Safety Plan and Stalking Log

Stalking Safety Plan and Stalking Log Website

For information about protecting yourself online (email, internet, Facebook, etc):

Technology Safety Website

The Washington State Address Confidentiality Program is a free program that can give you a substitute address in Olympia, Washington. You can use your substitute address for all Washington State business, including your Driver's License and Voter Registration. You can use it as your legal mailing address. They will forward your mail to your actual residence, which they will not disclose to anyone else.

Address Confidentiality Program Website

Contact DVSAS at (360) 715-1563 for more information or to sign up

For information about Whatcom County community resources, including financial, housing, medical, or children's needs:

Opportunity Council Community Resource Directory


Other ideas:

Emotionally Abusive Teenage Relationships

DV Info (Lynnwood)

Types of cases and hearings (Bellingham)

Crime Victim Rights (Spokane)

Frequently asked questions (Spokane)

Forms and brochures (Spokane) (Impact statements, restitution requests, safety info)