Elmhurst – As a leading voice in Springfield women’s safety issues, StateRepresentative Deanne M. Mazzochi (R- Elmhurst) helped usher into law an initiative that strengthens protections to the well-being and privacy of women surviving domestic violence. Mazzochi served as a Chief House Co-Sponsor of SB 399, which received unanimous, bipartisan support in the House and Senate.
“Domestic violence often means women and children flee from home to get away from an abusive partner. But that is precisely the point when they are most at risk for physical attack. Our local shelters do an incredible job of assistance; but they need to rely on law enforcement and their government in the aftermath, to protect them from repeat violence at the hand of their perpetrators,” said Mazzochi.
Mazzochi’s bill revises the Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, so that when a domestic violence victim turns to the courts for help, and is trying to stay away from their abuser, a current address stays hidden. “It is a sad fact that sometimes abuse victims need to protect their anonymity, especially place of residence, to ensure their safety. We shouldn’t undermine that by having them turn right around and disclose to a court – and by extension, their abuser – precisely where they are, and make them easier for an abuser to target.” Mazzochi noted that while the law previously allowed victims to include a domestic violence safe house address, or offer a new address that resulted from the issuance of a protective order, that wasn’t sufficient to keep people protected. “The data is clear that domestic violence abusers are likely to attack again, and again. By blocking public access to victims’ addresses, the new law adds an important new layer of protection for victims.”
While pleased with the provisions of SB 399, Mazzochi emphasized that lawmakers must do more to assist those forced to flee abusive homes, especially children. “This bipartisan solution will help domestic violence victims break free from abusive relationships, but this new law is only a start,” Mazzochi said. “Victims often need a hand up to escape the cycle of abuse; and children need added protection in our courtroom system.” Mazzochi noted other legislation she sponsored, HB3182, was likewise designed to fill gaps in child court protections that a local domestic violence shelter had identified. “Our legislature should always be looking to find ways to give domestic violence survivors the tools they need to emerge from violence and live a safe and productive life.”
SB 399 is now listed in the Illinois Statutes as Public Act 101-0211. The provisions of the new law take effect on January 1, 2020.