Washington Coalition of Crime Victim Advocates

Strengthening crime victim rights and improving victim services

Advocate Action Center

The Washington Crime Victim Action Center is a place for interested persons to keep informed of issues in the legislature or in the state that affect crime victim rights, services, or concerns.  If you would like to stay informed on issues, you can find this information here!

2018 Legislative Session

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 2014 Legislative Session - Capital Punishment 

Washington Coalition of Crime Victim Advocates - Statement

In light of Governor Inslee’s recent decision to suspend the death penalty in Washington State, the concern of the Washington Coalition of Crime Victim Advocates (WCCVA) is not whether or not capital punishment is an acceptable form of punishment, but rather the impact the Governor's decision could have on victims, family members, and crime victim advocates.

 Crime victim advocates support victims of personal tragedies and trauma, through an innate understanding of potential consequences for offenders.  The concern with Governor Inslee’s decision to suspend the death penalty is that for many victims, being able to predict and prepare for life after the crime is a cornerstone of their recovery process. Regardless of a victims’ personal feelings on capital punishment, having the ability to incorporate the legal consequences can provide closure and meaning to the legal process.

 Victims hope that justice for crimes committed against them, will be served. Co-survivors of homicide victims often must hope that justice for their loved ones will prevail, while navigating a criminal justice system that can often add anxiety, depression, and further trauma to the pain they have sustained. The Washington Coalition of Crime Victim Advocates knows that many victims may not always be contented with the court’s decision, but justice is considered “served” when the courts deliver their ruling. It is within these contexts that victims, advocates, and our legal colleagues must make sense of systems and accept the outcome, or pursue further actions available to them.

The Governor's decision to suspend the death penalty creates disruption for crime victims and the legal process, and may inadvertently re-victimize the co-survivors of homicide victims whose killers are currently on death row.  Washington State has decided that capital punishment is a legal form of punishment for those who have chosen to commit certain egregious crimes.  It is not our decision, as a coalition for crime victim advocates, to maintain whether the death penalty is an appropriate form of punishment.  We encourage advocates and victims to pursue and create change within the systems that exist. Just as Governor Inslee may feel that the system surrounding capital punishment is fallible, we maintain concerns that one person, alone, may choose to make a decision to counteract the laws and criminal justice system now in place.

The Washington Coalition of Crime Victim Advocates and its member agencies, consisting of advocates and victims from throughout Washington State, have worked to create and improve laws and rights for victims of crime since the early 1980’s. If there are laws that must be changed or amended, we believe the best avenue to do this is through the comprehensive legislative process. We hope that moving forward, there will be a seat at the table for victims and advocates to voice their concerns when major changes are made to the process and to the system we all work within. The Washington Coalition of Crime Victim Advocates is  happy to serve as a resource to the Governor's Office and others as issues regarding crime victims are discussed and decisions are made. 


 Let us not forget that victims will live with a life sentence. For homicide co-survivors, they are forever sentenced to live on without their loved one.  We share Governor Inslee's hope that one day there will be equal justice afforded under the law. However, it is the hope of the Washington Coalition of Crime Victim Advocates’ that equal justice under the law will mean that laws are weighted and considered just as carefully for victims as they are for the offenders who choose to perpetrate the crimes for which they are sentenced.

In response to the Governor's decision, Senate Bill 6566 has been introduced by State Senator Steve O'Ban. The proposed bill would enforce the idea that families of the victims need to be heard before any decision is made on whether to go ahead with an execution. Families came from around the state came to Olympia to testify on the bill Wednesday. When discussing the merits of the bill, O'Ban said, "There can be no justice if the voices of the victims are not heard."

 If you would like to share your thoughts on the Governor's decision to place a moratorium on all executions, or if you would like to provide comments on the proposed legislation, please contact WCCVA's Executive Director, Cody Benson at [email protected] Ms. Benson is working with the Governor's Office and the sponsor of the prosed legislation and she will provide them with comments shared by victims and co-survivors.

 If you would like more information on the bill, have questions about the Governor's decision, or would like to learn more about the legislative process, please contact WCCVA staff at (360) 456-3858. Please CLICK HERE for a short video update on SB 6566.  You may also visit the WCCVA Public Policy Action Center at  for links to news articles and additional resources.

Cody Benson
Executive Director
Washington Coalition of Crime Victim Advocates

Violence Against Women Act 2012  Social Media Campaign

Staff Contact

Director of Public Policy

Brad H. Tower

Legislative Liaison 

Troy Nichols 

Executive Director

Cody L. Benson


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