State legislators are considering passing a law which would provide additional protections for domestic violence victims in an effort to help them get out of a violent situation.
The law, backed by Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford), would give domestic violence victims an extra 60 days to pay for deposits on utilities, like gas, electricity and water. The hope is that the law will help remove the financial burden of moving and getting out of a dangerous situation.
“A lot of victims will stay in a dangerous situation because they don’t have the financial resources to leave,” Stadelman said. “This bill will help remove an obstacle that prevents people from leaving a very dangerous situation. Victims will still have to pay for their utility deposits, but they would just get extra time to get their finances in order to make that very difficult move.”
The bill was unanimously approved by the Illinois Senate with a vote of 57-0, and will now head to the House of Representatives.
Gary Halbach, CEO of Remedies Renewing Lives, an organization that helps domestic violence victims get back on their feet after getting out of a dangerous situation, said the bill is beneficial because finances is one of the main reasons a victim doesn’t leave an abuser.
“Studies show that people are on average involved in seven traumatic domestic violence situations before they leave and one of the reasons they don’t is that they look back and say ‘how am I going to make it financially if I leave?’ ” Halbach said. “So as much as they don’t want to be there, there aren’t a lot of options.”
Under the new law, requests for a 60-day extension would need to be certified by domestic violence shelters like Remedies Renewing Lives, but these organizations have already stated they are committed to assisting domestic violence victims in any way possible, so it shouldn’t be too difficult for a victim to obtain certification.
Related source: Rockford Register Star