Washington State

House of Representatives

Office of Program Research



Civil Rights & Judiciary Committee

SSB 5885

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

Brief Description: Creating an exemption to hearsay for child sex trafficking victims.

Sponsors: Senate Committee on Law & Justice (originally sponsored by Senators Padden, Dhingra, O'Ban, Wilson, C. and Nguyen).

Brief Summary of Substitute Bill

  • Allows for admissibility, and provides a process and criteria for determining admissibility, of a statement made by a child victim when under the age of 16 describing certain sex offenses.

Hearing Date: 3/26/19

Staff: Cece Clynch (786-7195).


"Hearsay" is a statement, other than one made by the declarant while testifying at the trial or hearing, offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted. Hearsay is not admissible except as provided by the court Rules of Evidence, other court rules, or by statute. There are several reasons for this rule:

A statute codified in the sex offenses chapter of the criminal code makes admissible, in dependency and criminal proceedings, including juvenile offense adjudications, a statement not otherwise admissible made by a child when under the age of 10 describing:

Under this statute, the child's statement is admissible in evidence if:

A statement may not be admitted under this statute unless the proponent of the statement provides the adverse party with prior notice of the intention to offer the statement and provides particulars of the statement sufficiently in advance of the proceedings to allow the adverse party a fair opportunity to prepare to meet the statement.

Summary of Bill:

The statute providing for admissibility is amended to provide an additional exception for a statement made by a child when under the age of 16 describing any of the following criminal acts or attempted acts performed with or on the child:

The same criteria for admissibility apply to this new exception.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Not requested.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.