Celebrities are coming together to make a public service announcement campaign to raise awareness for victims of domestic violence.

Mariska Hargitay, of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit fame, has a new project that is gaining media attention. This project focuses on helping victims, many of whom could have personal stories tragic enough to read like a plotline to her popular drama.

The actress is founder and president of an organization that aims at increasing awareness of sexual assault and domestic abuse issues in the United States. Hargitay’s organization, The Joyful Heart Foundation, has teamed up with another organization, No More, to create a nationwide public service announcement campaign. The campaign will run for three years and includes ads filled with celebrities.

Celebrities involved in the project include Ice-T, Amy Poehler, Megan Hilty and Courteney Cox. The ads are powerful, calling those who witness domestic violence to help victims. Slogans include celebrities calling bystanders to avoid using excuses for inaction. Some examples include:

• No more “He comes from a good family.”

• No more “It’s none of my business.”

• No more “It’s just a misunderstanding.”

According to a report released by the organization, 60 percent of Americans know a victim of domestic abuse. While it is important to assist those who are victims, it is equally important to avoid false accusations of domestic violence. A claim of domestic abuse carries serious consequences, particularly in the state of Washington.

Harsh Consequences Of A Domestic Abuse Charge In Washington

In the state of Washington, a charge of domestic abuse generally comes with harsh consequences. One of the more controversial consequences is the issuance of a no contact order, or NCO. This court order is available in incidents that led to a police report and restricts the contact a person accused of domestic violence can have with the alleged victim. These orders can be issued immediately following an arrest or charge and are available before, after or at the same time as civil protection orders.

These court orders are strict. Even a minor violation can lead to mandatory arrest and a judge may choose to revoke release until after a trial. These orders can be particularly devastating if children are present in a relationship as they may extend to cover the family home, not allowing the person accused of the crime from entering the home to see his or her children.

Those who are the victims of domestic abuse can benefit from the protection offered by a NCO. However, in situations where domestic abuse was not present this false allegation can negatively impact the person accused of the crime for the rest of his or her life. In addition to criminal fines and penalties the individual would have to disclose the presence of a domestic violence crime on a permanent record. Those who review a record prior to hiring or offering scholarships may not move forward with an offer after a domestic violence crime is noticed.

Defenses are available to help reduce or even dismiss these charges before they become a conviction. If charged with a domestic abuse crime in Washington, contact an experienced Washington domestic violence lawyer to discuss your options.

Keywords: domestic violence, celebrities raise awareness, domestic abuse charge, Washington

Green Ritchie & Bogar, PLLC