SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Fran Hurley, D-Chicago, recently passed legislation that would expand protections for survivors of domestic abuse and stalking by allowing them to legally change their name without leaving a paper trail that can be followed by an abuser.
“For many survivors, it is a matter of personal safety to keep personal information private so as to not be tracked down by their abuser,” said Hurley. “Someone who was affected by a violent crime and wishes to change their name should not be forced to publish their identity and location and put themselves at risk.”
Currently, people wishing to legally change their name must publish it in a generally circulated newspaper for three consecutive weeks. This puts people trying to escape from abusive partners or stalkers at risk and defeats the purpose of changing their names. Hurley is the chief House sponsor of Senate Bill 2330, which allows the publishing requirement to be waived with approval from a judge for a survivor of domestic violence, stalking or criminal conduct. Survivors wishing to change their name may also use an alternative address instead of their home address to avoid putting themselves or their family at risk. Senate Bill 2330 was brought to Hurley by constituent Sara Ghadiri and passed both the House and Senate with bipartisan support. The measure now awaits Gov. Rauner’s approval to become law.
“This legislation will help those that are trying to start a new life away from their abusers,” said Hurley. “In Illinois, we should be using every opportunity to help those that are recovering from abuse, and I will continue to look at legislation that helps prevent domestic abuse and protect victims.”
To learn more about the warning signs of abuse or to receive confidential support from a trained advocate, call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).