Working to transform the child welfare system.

SB 5835: Creating a hotline to receive reports of potential self-harm and criminal acts

SB 5835 intends to establish a program for receiving reports and other information from the public regarding potential self-harm and potential harm or criminal acts including, but not limited to:

  • sexual abuse
  • sexual assault
  • rape

Sec. 1 of this act establishes relevant definitions for the purposes of the program, including:

  • attorney general, fund, hotline, and vendor

Sec. 2 specifies that the Attorney General (AG), in consultation with the WA State Patrol and the WA State Health Care Authority (HCA) shall establish the program that includes a hotline for receiving reports, and must be available 24/7, 365 days of the year.

Furthermore, the AG is responsible for ensuring that appropriate training is provided to program personnel in the following areas:

  • crisis management;
  • resources that are available for mental health treatment and other services; and
  • other matters determined to be relevant to the program.

This section further specifies that a report must be maintained as a record by the vendor for at least (1) year, and that any hotline information that suggests a psychiatric emergency must be immediately referred to the community mental health services program crisis line.

Furthermore, the AG shall develop a source of information on available community mental health resources, including mental health service.

Sec. 3 clarifies that any report is confidential except as otherwise provided in this chapter.

Sec. 6 establishes the creation of the Community Mental Health Safety Fund in the custody of the state treasurer. The AG shall be the administrator of the fund, and may disburse money from the fund for the following purposes:

  • to pay for the costs of the ag for administering this chapter;
  • to pay the costs of the vendor for operating the hotline; and
  • to promote public awareness of the program.

Finally, sec. 7 of this act requires the AG, in collaboration with the WA HCA, and the vendor, to prepare an annual report by no later than July 31st of the year the report is due. The report shall contain:

  • number of reports received;
  • number of reports forwarded to local law enforcement;
  • number of reports that resulted in referral to mental health services;
  • nature of the reports in categories;
  • responses to the reports at local levels in categories;
  • source of all funds deposited in the Community Mental Health Safety Fund;
  • itemized costs and expenditures by the AG and WA state patrol; and an analysis of the overall effectiveness of the program.