New law aims to help domestic violence victims financially - – Rockford’s News Leader

New law aims to help domestic violence victims financially


Illinois is doing more for domestic violence victims.

Governor Bruce Rauner signed a bill which would provide 18 million dollars in funding to domestic violence shelters.  A new law will help victims reach safer situations without having to worry about money.

"What this does is allows them to get their finances in order so they can move out of a bad situation," Rockford area Senator Steve Stadelman said.

A bill sponsored by local lawmakers and unanimously approved in Springfield aims to help domestic violence victims when they leave their abusive situations and move into their own homes or apartments.

"Basically it allows domestic violence victims to waive deposits they have to pay for their utilities for 60 days," Stadelman said.

State Representative Litesa Wallace said people who are abused by their partners or spouses often feel trapped.

"The abuse is not just physical its often emotional and in a lot of cases it is financial," Wallace said. "Meaning the abuser has control over the finances in the household and so when the victim wants to be able to leave they might not have access to money to do that."

This new legislation will take effect in less than a week and ease some of that financial burden.  Senator Dave Syverson said utility companies were already waiving deposits in some cases before this law was voted on, but now it's official.

"If a person is in a hardship situation whether its domestic violence or an accident or illness they can contact the utility company and talk to them about it," Syverson said. 

Syverson said payments won't be forgiven because of this law, but it will delay the deadline for domestic violence victims.  

"A person must have an order of protection or certification by an official or shelter to be eligible," Stadelman said.

"Finances are always a huge issue and if we can in this way allow them to make that move take that step that can prevent a potentially bad situation."  
Stadelman said this financial help may help free space at shelters, because people who've experienced domestic violence may be more financially able to move into their own home or apartment," Stadelman said.

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