South Bend Tribune
A new law passed by the General Assembly this year gives domestic violence victims two more ways to try to gain control of their lives.
Senate Enrolled Act 323, sponsored by state Rep. Wendy McNamara, R-Evansville, and co-authored by state Sen. Joseph Zakas, R-Granger, is a combination of two proposals.
The first part of the law, according to a story by the Evansville Courier Press, allows wireless providers to transfer phone plans over to domestic violence victims without the consent of an account holder and with the permission of a judge.
The other part of the law allows judges to include pets in protective orders for domestic violence.
The ultimate goal is to make it easier for victims of domestic violence to escape an abusive relationship by eliminating two common ways abusers seek to exert control over another person’s life.
Controlling a phone account and, essentially a mobile device, with access to all types of information, including the user’s friends, can be a powerful control mechanism.
Having a separate phone plan is a safety issue because it allows a victim to reach out to family and friends when they need to.
Abusers can use a family pet as leverage over a partner similar to the way they would take advantage of a child to maintain control in an abusive relationship.
“It’s sad that on a regular basis we deal with domestic violence issues,” Zakas said. “We regularly try to give the courts tools to deal with these things.”
This legislation is not going to eliminate domestic abuse, but it gives victims two more ways to try to escape an abusive relationship.