SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Michelle Mussman, D-Schaumburg, is backing legislation that would grant domestic abuse survivors the legal right to remain anonymous from their previous attacker. Mussman is a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 2330, which allows survivors to opt out of having their name change published in their local newspaper, which current law requires.
“Survivors of domestic abuse can live in perpetual fear of seeing their abuser again,” Mussman said. “That is why survivors must go to great lengths, such as relocating to a new area and even changing their name, to avoid being tracked down by their abuser. If we can help grant survivors in our community a new lease on life or even some peace of mind, then we have an obligation to do so.”
To inform the public of criminals who have changed their name to avoid detection, current Illinois law requires the filing of a name change to be published in the newspaper for three weeks. This carries the unintended consequence of jeopardizing the safety of survivors of domestic abuse. This bill brings Illinois up to speed with 21 other states that allow the publication requirement to be waived to protect survivors from future violence.
“The waiver will eliminate the public paper trail that abusers can use to seek out their victims,” said Mussman. “Protecting survivors of domestic abuse should not be a political issue. Senate Bill 2330 gives us all a chance to come together on an issue that will help some of our most vulnerable neighbors as they try to return their lives to normal.”
To learn more about the warning signs of abuse or to receive confidential support from a trained advocate, call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).