Mayor Burgess’ 2018 Proposed Budget includes $500,000 in additional resources to support survivors of sexual abuse and $162,000 for the Domestic Violence Firearm Surrender Program.
The $500,000 will provide services for adult and child survivors of sexual abuse as part of the City’s gender-based violence portfolio. The priority for this funding is to provide person-centered interventions to address and prevent long-term health and mental health issues. Services may include crisis intervention, information and referral services, general advocacy, medical advocacy, and legal advocacy including:
- Funding flexible and mobile advocacy for victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse that allow for survivors to meet with advocates at accessible locations with survivor-driven services that meet the specific needs of survivors who are refugee, immigrant, LBGTQ, and people of color and other underserved groups.
- Investing in the Coalition Ending Gender-Based Violence to enhance cross agency collaboration and regional advocacy.
Domestic Violence Firearm Surrender Program
The 2018 Proposed Budget fully funds the enforcement needs for Seattle’s Domestic Violence Firearm Surrender Program. The program is part of a regional taskforce, including significant staffing through King County.
- The newly proposed program manager position will coordinate the City’s response on firearms surrender with King County, State, and federal agencies. In 2017, a prosecutor and court coordinator were added to the Law Department to begin program implementation.
- The proposed budget also provides incremental funding for four additional Domestic Violence Detectives in the Seattle Police Department to support this effort.
Washington voters approved a statewide initiative (I-1491) in 2016, which allows family members and law enforcement to petition courts for removal of firearms from those who pose a risk of harm to themselves or others. In 2014, The Washington State Legislature adopted House Bill 1840 which allows a judge to require firearm surrender from people subject to a domestic violence prevention order.
In 2014 a Washington State study found that in 54% of domestic violence homicides, the defendant had previously been ordered to surrender firearms. Based on a hand count of all 2016 Domestic Violence Firearm Surrender Orders issued in King County Superior Court, 56% of those ordered to surrender firearms ignored the order.