Bellingham-Whatcom County Commission on Sexual & Domestic Violence


“The layer of being a non-citizen has an enormous life impact.”

—Service Provider

Safety Audit & Community Assessment Reports

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Sexual Assault National Demonstration Audit

Published Jan 2019

Audit Question: How is the Bellingham-Whatcom County criminal legal system organized to meet the justice needs of sexual assault survivors?

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Safe Futures Project Strengths & Needs Assessment

Published 2017

Safe Futures is a federally funded, collaborative school-based project in the Ferndale, Blaine, and Mount Baker School Districts, to prevent and address adolescent relationship abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking through promoting safety, healthy relationships and consent.

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Ferndale School District strengths & Needs Assessment

Published 2011

Since 2012, the Ferndale School District and the S/DV Commission have been collaborating to identify areas of strength and concern, discuss current services provided, enhance existing partnerships, and develop new relationships, all with the goal of improving the District’s response to and prevention of teen dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

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Protection Order Safety & Accountability Audit

Published April 2011

Audit Question: How is victim safety and access built into the community domestic violence order for protection process?

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Findings & Recommendations for the City of Blaine

Published Oct 2007

Audit Question: How does the criminal justice system recognize and respond to the complexities of risk and safety for all victims of domestic violence in the City of Blaine?

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Findings & Recommendations for Prosecution & Probation Responses

Published Jan 2007

Audit Question: How do prosecution and probation recognize and respond to the complexities of risk and safety for all victims of domestic violence in the City of Bellingham and Whatcom County?

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Review of Arrests of Women on Domestic Violence Related Charges

Published April 2005

Audit Question: Working backward from jailing booking records, use Safety Audit methodology to examine the arrests of women on domestic abuse related charges in order to identify any problematic practices concerning victim safety.

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Response to Domestic Violence Cases Call for Service (911) Law Enforcement Response, Jail Booking, & Release

Published February 2003

The purpose of a Safety Audit is to see how, where, and if existing practices – those that are documented in forms or policies, or those that evolve within a work culture – ensure the safety of victims and the accountability of offenders.

Fatality Reviews

Candle vigil illustration by Shew Designs

Candle vigil illustration by Shew Designs

It Happened in our Town: Whatcom County Domestic Violence Fatality Review Report

Published Oct 2013

The Bellingham-Whatcom County Commission Against Domestic Violence (DV Commission) and the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV) collaborated to convene a Domestic Violence Fatality Review (DVFR) Panel in Whatcom County. The DV Commission, WSCADV, and the DVFR Panel worked together to learn about and improve our community response to lethal domestic violence incidents in Whatcom County. The Whatcom County Domestic Violence Fatality Review (DVFR) Panel conducted a formal, in-depth review of three intimate partner homicide cases to learn about and improve our community response to domestic violence.

Survivor Input

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High Risk Domestic Violence & LGBTQ+ Communities Report

Published March 2018

Recent research shows that LGBTQ people experience similar, if not higher, rates of intimate partner domestic violence (IPV) compared to their cisgender or heterosexual counterparts. The 2010 National Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) found that 44% of lesbian women, 61% of bisexual women, 26% of gay men, and 37% of bisexual men experience IPV at some point in their lives.

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Findings from Domestic Violence Victim/Survivor Focus Groups

Published March 2004

Five focus groups were conducted during February and March of 2004. A total of 27 women participated in the groups. Women in four of the groups were all domestic violence victims/survivors. The fifth group was comprised primarily of domestic violence survivors, with a few women who did not clearly identify an experience of abuse by an intimate partner, but rather of their children.

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Community Survey Project: Factors that Influence Disclosure of Abuse to Providers

Published April 2002

The June 2000 Whatcom County Domestic Violence Comprehensive Plan identified a need to increase community knowledge about the fears, barriers, and experiences of victims in disclosing domestic violence to healthcare and social service providers. Project design was guided by a literature review, a series of key informant interviews, and two victim focus groups.


Want to share your story with the Commission?

The Commission is always open to hearing from survivors of sexual and domestic violence about their experiences working with systems in Bellingham and Whatcom County. If you would like to share your story with Commission staff or to hear about upcoming opportunities for interviews and focus groups, please contact us at

The Commission values your right to privacy and confidentiality. Anything shared with the Commission will be kept strictly confidential. General information will only be shared with your consent and any identifying information will be changed for your protection.

Data Reports

The S/DV Commission releases data reports annually. These reports provide information about rate of reported incidents and services accessed within Whatcom County. See below for our most recent reports; reports published before 2013 can be found in our archive.

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Domestic & sexual violence whatcom county 2017

This report examines data on domestic and sexual violence in Whatcom County for the calendar year 2017. It features a “Snapshot Report,” which provides context on domestic and sexual violence in Whatcom County, and two “Spotlight Reports,” which more deeply examine areas of focus related to domestic and sexual violence. In this year’s report, the spotlights are: the impact of federal immigration policy on survivors, and connections between homelessness/housing instability and domestic and sexual violence. These portions include data that was collected in 2018.

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Domestic violence Whatcom County SMall Cities 2005-2012

This report compiles domestic violence indicators for the five small cities of Whatcom County: Blaine, Ferndale, Everson and Nooksack, Lynden and Sumas. It is the Domestic Violence Commission’s hope that the report will provide each city with information on domestic violence trends as well as outcomes of intervention. While the report is not able to identify and differentiate the factors that could be responsible for changes in the indicators, the data may be helpful to officials on the nature and extent of domestic violence in their communities.

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Domestic violence in Whatcom County 1998-2013

This is the eleventh annual data report of domestic violence indicator data in Whatcom County, published by the DV Commission. Data for this report was collected from a variety of sources, including: Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), Washington Association of Sheriffs & Police Chiefs (WASPC), Office of Financial Management, and Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV), as well as local Whatcom County agencies including courts, law enforcement, prosecution, probation, perpetrator treatment providers, and victim advocacy providers.