Sexual Assault and Social Media


For victims of Sexual Assault, Internet trolling of their social media is often commonplace. Postings from Facebook, Instagram, and other social media sites are often used against the victim as the matter heads to Court. Social media may be used to undermine the victim’s credibility, and to otherwise cast doubt about their claims of sexual assault.

Caution should be taken whenever using social media, as even when a post is deleted from an account, it may be accessible somewhere else. Being aware of the audience is important because even a “blocked” person can access a post through a third party. Or a person could be unknowingly "tagged" in an embarrassing photo which is used against them at a later time. Please see more information regarding social media at Use of Social Media in Family Law.

Sexual Assault cases generally involve situations where "nonconsensual sexual conduct" or "nonconsensual sexual penetration" is alleged to have occurred. Specific definition of these terms can be found at RCW 7.90.010. For reference please see the chart below and Sexual Assault Protection Order.

Who Can Bring an Action

  • A person who does not qualify for a Domestic Violence Protection Order, and is a victim of nonconsensual sexual conduct or nonconsensual sexual penetration, including a single incident, may petition for a civil order. Minors under age of 16 with parent or guardian. Courts may appoint a Guardian ad Litem for either Petitioner or Respondent at no cost to either party.

Notice to Respondent

  • Notice of Civil Order served on the Respondent. Notice by certified mail, or publication authorized in limited circumstances.

Violation of Court Order

  • Mandatory arrest for violating restraint and exclusion provision. Possible criminal charges or contempt. Class C felony if assault or reckless endangerment, otherwise Gross Misdemeanor.

Duration of Order

  • Temporary Civil SAPO--14 days with proper service. Full Civil SAPO--Designated by Court up to two years. Criminal Orders--Designated by Court.

Family law litigation can be emotionally difficult and complex. Decisions made about each step of the litigation can affect you for many years. We have years of experience helping our clients through the difficulty of protection orders and can help you through the process. Contact us today at (253) 838 – 3377 or email at office@bainslawfirm.com, to talk about your situation.

Disclaimer: All materials provided on this website have been prepared by Bains Law Firm for general information purposes only and no representation is made as to their completeness or accuracy. Information on this website is not intended as legal advice, and may not be relied upon as such. Only an attorney who can review the unique facts of each case and apply them to the statutes, case law and court rules can provide legal advice. Nothing in this website shall be construed to create an attorney-client relationship.

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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.