Z-1237.2          _______________________________________________


                                 SENATE BILL 6387



State of Washington              52nd Legislature             1992 Regular Session


By Senators Nelson, Thorsness, M. Kreidler and Rasmussen; by request of Department of Community Development and Dept. of Social and Health Services


Read first time 01/28/92.  Referred to Committee on Law & Justice.Establishing the office of crime victims' advocacy.

     AN ACT Relating to the office of crime victims' advocacy; amending RCW 43.280.010, 43.280.020, 43.280.030, 43.280.050, and 43.280.060; reenacting and amending RCW 42.17.310; adding new sections to chapter 43.280 RCW; and adding a new section to chapter 41.06 RCW.




     Sec. 1.  RCW 43.280.010 and 1990 c 3 s 1201 are each amended to read as follows:

     The legislature recognizes the need to increase ((the)) services available to ((the)) victims of ((sex offenders)) crime.  The legislature also recognizes that these services are most effectively planned and provided at the local level through the combined efforts of concerned community and citizens groups, treatment providers, and local government officials.  The legislature further recognizes that adequate treatment for victims is not only a matter of justice for the victim, but also a method by which additional ((abuse)) crime can be prevented.

     The legislature intends to enhance the community-based ((treatment)) services available to ((the)) victims of ((sex offenders)) crime by:

     (1) Establishing the office of crime victims' advocacy to provide a focus within state government on the rights of, and services for, victims of crime;

     (2) Providing funding support for local ((treatment)) programs ((which)) that provide services to victims of ((sex offenders)) crime;

     (((2))) (3) Providing technical assistance and support to help communities plan for and provide ((treatment)) services to crime victims; and

     (((3))) (4) Providing communities and local ((treatment)) service providers with opportunities to share information about successful prevention and treatment programs.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2.      The office of crime victims' advocacy is established within the department of community development to provide a focus within state government on the rights of, and services for, victims of crime.

     The office of crime victims' advocacy shall:

     (1) Advocate for programs and policies that strengthen victim rights and improve the quality and accessibility of services for victims;

     (2) Serve as an ombuds to assist victims in obtaining needed services, and to investigate situations in which victims believe their rights have been violated;

     (3) Serve as a clearinghouse of information regarding services, statutes, and research related to crime victims;

     (4) Work with crime victim service organizations to provide leadership in the development of public policy relative to crime victim issues;

     (5) Facilitate the development of standards for the provision of services to crime victims by working in concert with various providers of such services and affected regulatory agencies;

     (6) Facilitate the planning and provision of training for providers of crime victim services including, but not limited to, personnel in social service, criminal justice, medical, and education systems;

     (7) Administer grant funds that are made available to enhance the capacity of communities to serve victims of crime and to prevent victimization; and

     (8) Provide technical assistance to state and community organizations to help them serve victims of crime.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 3.      The crime victims' ombuds is created within the office of crime victims' advocacy.

     (1) The crime victims' ombuds may investigate complaints concerning possible violation of the rights of crime victims or witnesses provided for by law, the delivery of services to crime victims, the administration of the crime victims compensation act, chapter 7.68 RCW, and other complaints of mistreatment by elements of the criminal justice system or victim service providers.  Clients or other affected individuals who have complaints regarding a policy or procedure, or the application of a policy or procedure, of the department of social and health services, shall be referred to the complaint resolution process established under RCW 74.13.045 if the complaint is related to programs administered under chapter 74.13 RCW.  The ombuds shall act as a liaison, if requested, between agencies in the criminal justice system or victim service providers, and victims and witnesses.  The ombuds shall be available through the use of a toll-free telephone number and shall answer questions concerning the criminal justice system and victim services from victims and witnesses in accordance with the ombuds' knowledge of the facts or law, unless the information is otherwise restricted.

     (2) The crime victim ombuds has those powers necessary to carry out the duties set out in subsection (1) of this section, including:

     (a) The ombuds may investigate any action of an element of the criminal justice system or a victim assistance program.

     (b) The ombuds may request and shall be given access to all information pertaining to a complaint, including any records pertaining to juveniles and juvenile offenders.  Juvenile records obtained under this chapter shall not be released to any person by the office of crime victims' advocacy.

     (c) After completing investigation of a complaint, the ombuds shall inform in writing the complainant, the investigated person or entity, and other appropriate authorities of the action taken.

     (3)(a) On finding a complaint valid after duly considering the complaint and whatever material the ombuds deems pertinent, the ombuds may recommend action to the appropriate authority.

     (b) If the ombuds makes a recommendation to an appropriate authority for action, the authority shall, within a reasonable time period, inform the ombuds about the action taken or the reasons for not complying with the recommendation.

     (4) The crime victims' ombuds shall not serve as legal counsel to any person in a civil or criminal proceeding.

     (5) The executive administrator of the office of crime victims' advocacy shall establish procedures to ensure the impartiality of all ombuds actions including those that involve crime victim programs funded by the department of community development.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 4.      The executive administrator of the office of crime victims' advocacy shall be appointed by and report to the director of the department of community development.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 5.  A new section is added to chapter 41.06 RCW to read as follows:

     In addition to the exemptions set forth in RCW 41.06.070, the provisions of this chapter do not apply to the executive administrator of the office of crime victims' advocacy.


     Sec. 6.  RCW 43.280.020 and 1990 c 3 s 1203 are each amended to read as follows:

     There is established in the department of community development a grant program to enhance the funding for treating the victims of sex offenders and prevention of sexual assault victimization.  Activities that can be funded through this grant program are limited to those that:

     (1) Provide effective treatment or prevention services to victims of sex offenders;

     (2) Increase access to and availability of treatment or prevention services for victims of sex offenders, particularly if from underserved populations; and

     (3) Create or build on efforts by existing community programs, coordinate those efforts, or develop cooperative efforts or other initiatives to make the most effective use of resources to provide treatment or prevention services to these victims.

     Funding priority shall be given to those applicants that represent well-established existing programs and applicants that represent new programs that are being created in geographic areas where no programs presently exist.


     Sec. 7.  RCW 43.280.030 and 1990 c 3 s 1204 are each amended to read as follows:

     Applications for funding under this chapter must:

     (1) Present evidence demonstrating how the criteria in RCW ((43.280.010)) 43.280.020 will be met and demonstrating the effectiveness of the proposal.

     (2) Contain evidence of active participation of the community and its commitment to providing ((an)) effective treatment or prevention services for victims of sex offenders through the participation of local governments, tribal governments, human service and health organizations, and treatment entities and through meaningful involvement from others, including citizen groups, as applicable.


     Sec. 8.  RCW 43.280.050 and 1990 c 3 s 1206 are each amended to read as follows:

     At a minimum, grant applications must include the following:

     (1) The geographic area from which the victims or persons at-risk of becoming victims to be served are expected to come;

     (2) A description of the extent and effect of the needs of these victims and persons at-risk of becoming victims within the relevant geographic area;

     (3) An explanation of how the funds will be used, their relationship to existing services available within the community, and the need that they will fulfill;

     (4) An explanation of what organizations were involved in the development of the proposal; and

     (5) An evaluation methodology.


     Sec. 9.  RCW 43.280.060 and 1990 c 3 s 1207 are each amended to read as follows:

     (1) Subject to funds appropriated by the legislature, the department of community development shall make awards under the grant program established by RCW 43.280.020.

     (2) Awards shall be made competitively based on the purposes of and criteria in this chapter.

     (3) To aid the department of community development in making its determination, the department shall form a peer review committee comprised of the executive administrator or designee for the office of crime victims' advocacy ((office)) and individuals who have experience in ((the treatment of victims of predatory violent sex offenders)) providing sexual assault treatment or prevention services.  The peer review committee shall advise the department on the extent to which each eligible applicant meets the purposes and criteria of this chapter.  The department shall consider this advice in making awards.

     (4) Activities funded under this section may be considered for funding in future years, but shall be considered under the same terms and criteria as new activities.  Funding under this chapter shall not constitute an obligation by the state of Washington to provide ongoing funding.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 10.     Records maintained by the office of crime victims' advocacy are not subject to discovery in any judicial proceeding unless:

     (1) A written motion is made to a court stating that discovery is requested of such records;

     (2) The written motion is accompanied by an affidavit or affidavits setting forth specifically the reasons why discovery is requested of office of crime victims' advocacy records;

     (3) The court reviews the office of crime victims' advocacy records in camera to determine whether the records are relevant and whether the probative value of the records are outweighed by the victim's privacy interest in the confidentiality of such records, taking into account the further trauma that may be inflicted upon the victim by the disclosure of the records; and

     (4) The court enters an order stating whether the records or any part of the records are discoverable and setting forth a basis for the courts findings.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 11.     No member of the office of crime victims' advocacy may be compelled to testify in any court with respect to matters involving the exercise of the ombuds functions of the office, except for the purpose of establishing the validity of records that may be entered into evidence pursuant to section 10 of this act.


     Sec. 12.  RCW 42.17.310 and 1991 c 301 s 13, 1991 c 87 s 13, and 1991 c 23 s 10 are each reenacted and amended to read as follows:

     (1) The following are exempt from public inspection and copying:

     (a) Personal information in any files maintained for students in public schools, patients or clients of public institutions or public health agencies, or welfare recipients.

     (b) Personal information in files maintained for employees, appointees, or elected officials of any public agency to the extent that disclosure would violate their right to privacy.

     (c) Information required of any taxpayer in connection with the assessment or collection of any tax if the disclosure of the information to other persons would (i) be prohibited to such persons by RCW 82.32.330 or (ii) violate the taxpayer's right to privacy or result in unfair competitive disadvantage to the taxpayer.

     (d) Specific intelligence information and specific investigative records compiled by investigative, law enforcement, and penology agencies, and state agencies vested with the responsibility to discipline members of any profession, the nondisclosure of which is essential to effective law enforcement or for the protection of any person's right to privacy.

     (e) Information revealing the identity of persons who file complaints with investigative, law enforcement, or penology agencies, other than the public disclosure commission, if disclosure would endanger any person's life, physical safety, or property.  If at the time the complaint is filed the complainant indicates a desire for disclosure or nondisclosure, such desire shall govern.  However, all complaints filed with the public disclosure commission about any elected official or candidate for public office must be made in writing and signed by the complainant under oath.

     (f) Test questions, scoring keys, and other examination data used to administer a license, employment, or academic examination.

     (g) Except as provided by chapter 8.26 RCW, the contents of real estate appraisals, made for or by any agency relative to the acquisition or sale of property, until the project or prospective sale is abandoned or until such time as all of the property has been acquired or the property to which the sale appraisal relates is sold, but in no event shall disclosure be denied for more than three years after the appraisal.

     (h) Valuable formulae, designs, drawings, and research data obtained by any agency within five years of the request for disclosure when disclosure would produce private gain and public loss.

     (i) Preliminary drafts, notes, recommendations, and intra-agency memorandums in which opinions are expressed or policies formulated or recommended except that a specific record shall not be exempt when publicly cited by an agency in connection with any agency action.

     (j) Records which are relevant to a controversy to which an agency is a party but which records would not be available to another party under the rules of pretrial discovery for causes pending in the superior courts.

     (k) Records, maps, or other information identifying the location of archaeological sites in order to avoid the looting or depredation of such sites.

     (l) Any library record, the primary purpose of which is to maintain control of library materials, or to gain access to information, which discloses or could be used to disclose the identity of a library user.

     (m) Financial information supplied by or on behalf of a person, firm, or corporation for the purpose of qualifying to submit a bid or proposal for (((a))) (i) a ferry system construction or repair contract as required by RCW 47.60.680 through 47.60.750 or (((b))) (ii) highway construction or improvement as required by RCW 47.28.070.

     (n) Railroad company contracts filed with the utilities and transportation commission under RCW 81.34.070, except that the summaries of the contracts are open to public inspection and copying as otherwise provided by this chapter.

     (o) Financial and commercial information and records supplied by private persons pertaining to export services provided pursuant to chapter 43.163 RCW and chapter 53.31 RCW.

     (p) Financial disclosures filed by private vocational schools under chapter 28C.10 RCW.

     (q) Records filed with the utilities and transportation commission or attorney general under RCW 80.04.095 that a court has determined are confidential under RCW 80.04.095.

     (r) Financial and commercial information and records supplied by businesses during application for loans or program services provided by chapter 43.163 RCW and chapters 43.31, 43.63A, and 43.168 RCW.

     (s) Membership lists or lists of members or owners of interests of units in timeshare projects, subdivisions, camping resorts, condominiums, land developments, or common-interest communities affiliated with such projects, regulated by the department of licensing, in the files or possession of the department.

     (t) All applications for public employment, including the names of applicants, resumes, and other related materials submitted with respect to an applicant.

     (u) The residential addresses and residential telephone numbers of employees or volunteers of a public agency which are held by the agency in personnel records, employment or volunteer rosters, or mailing lists of employees or volunteers.

     (v) The residential addresses and residential telephone numbers of the customers of a public utility contained in the records or lists held by the public utility of which they are customers.

     (w) Information obtained by the board of pharmacy as provided in RCW 69.45.090.

     (x) Information obtained by the board of pharmacy or the department of health and its representatives as provided in RCW 69.41.044, 69.41.280, and 18.64.420.

     (y) Financial information, business plans, examination reports, and any information produced or obtained in evaluating or examining a business and industrial development corporation organized or seeking certification under chapter 31.24 RCW.

     (z) Financial and commercial information supplied to the state investment board by any person when the information relates to the investment of public trust or retirement funds and when disclosure would result in loss to such funds or in private loss to the providers of this information.

     (aa) Financial and valuable trade information under RCW 51.36.120.

     (bb) Client records maintained by an agency that is a domestic violence program as defined in RCW 70.123.020 or a rape crisis center as defined in RCW 70.125.030.

     (cc) Records maintained by the office of crime victims' advocacy related to the ombuds functions of the office that disclose or could be used to disclose the identity of a crime victim or complainant.

     (2) Except for information described in subsection (1)(c)(i) of this section and confidential income data exempted from public inspection pursuant to RCW 84.40.020, the exemptions of this section are inapplicable to the extent that information, the disclosure of which would violate personal privacy or vital governmental interests, can be deleted from the specific records sought.  No exemption may be construed to permit the nondisclosure of statistical information not descriptive of any readily identifiable person or persons.

     (3) Inspection or copying of any specific records exempt under the provisions of this section may be permitted if the superior court in the county in which the record is maintained finds, after a hearing with notice thereof to every person in interest and the agency, that the exemption of such records is clearly unnecessary to protect any individual's right of privacy or any vital governmental function.

     (4) Agency responses refusing, in whole or in part, inspection of any public record shall include a statement of the specific exemption authorizing the withholding of the record (or part) and a brief explanation of how the exemption applies to the record withheld.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 13.     Sections 2 through 4, 10, and 11 of this act are each added to chapter 43.280 RCW.