SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — State Rep. Anne Stava-Murray, D-Downers Grove, has filed a bill aimed at making it easier for many survivors of abuse to leave dangerous situations, in spite of financial factors that can make it difficult to assert independence.

“Abusers often use their influence over shared finances to make it difficult for survivors to escape or to support themselves independently,” Stava-Murray said. “When that happens, the aid survivors need—housing assistance, food aid, medical care, free or low-cost legal aid and more—is often unavailable to those whose income ‘on paper’ is too high for them to qualify, despite their pressing immediate need. This is a blind spot in the law that we’re aiming to remedy.”

Stava-Murray’s House Bill 4885 would provide for temporary certificates of economic hardship to be issued along with civil no contact orders or domestic violence orders of protection. These certificates would be legal proof of income eligibility for any benefit or assistance provided under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), legal aid, or any other State or local assistance program. The certificates would be valid for a period of time set by the issuing judge and could be extended as needed at that judge’s discretion.

“A survivor who musters the strength to leave their abuser should not find themselves held in place because they are dependent on their tormentor for essentials,” Stava-Murray said. “No matter how much someone makes in a year, at the time of separation, they are often starting from scratch. From there it can be weeks or months before they are on firm footing once again. To better protect survivors of abuse, we need to take their circumstances into account and ensure they have the means to escape. That’s why this measure is so important.”

Rep. Anne Stava-MurrayRep. Anne Stava-Murray

81st District

Springfield Office:
200-1S Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-6578

District Office:
633 Rogers Street
Suite 110
Downers Grove, IL 60515
(630) 605-0595