Legal Information: Washington

Restraining Orders

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Updated: 
December 15, 2023

What is the legal definition of sexual assault in Washington?

For the purposes of getting a sexual assault protection order, the abuser must have committed one of two crimes against you: “nonconsensual sexual conduct” or “nonconsensual sexual penetration.”1

Nonconsensual” means that you did not freely agree to the sexual conduct or penetration.2 If you “agreed” to the sexual contact because you were being threatened with physical harm, for example, that would not be considered that you “freely agreed” to the contact.

Sexual conduct is when the offender:

  • touches or fondles your genitals, anus, or breasts, including through clothing;
  • displays his/her genitals, anus, or breasts for the purposes of arousal or sexual gratification;
  • forces you to touch his/her genitals, anus, or breasts;
  • forces you to touch another person’s genitals, anus, or breasts;
  • forces you to display your genitals, anus, or breasts for the purpose of sexual gratification;
  • touches the body, clothed or unclothed, of a child under the age of 16 for the purposes of sexual gratification or arousal; or
  • forces a child under the age of 16 to touch or fondle, including through clothing, his/her genitals, anus, or breasts.3

Sexual penetration is:

  • any contact between the sex organ or anus of one person by
    • an object; or
    • the sex organ, mouth, or anus of another person; or
  • any intrusion into the sex organ or anus of one person by
    • any part of the body of another person;
    • any animal; or
    • any object.4

Note: There does not have to be semen found to prove sexual penetration.4

1 R.C.W. § 7.105.225(1)(b)
2 R.C.W. § 7.105.010(26)
3 R.C.W. § 7.105.010(32)
4 R.C.W. § 7.105.010(33)

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