House passes Kuster legislation to protect women and children from domestic abuse
WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster (NH-02) led the House of Representatives in passing her legislation to protect survivors from domestic abuse and violence, H.R. 7132, the Safe Connections Act of 2022. This bipartisan bill, introduced alongside Reps. Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) and Tim Walburg (R-MI), would help survivors of domestic violence and other crimes cut ties with their abusers and separate from shared wireless service plans, which can be exploited to monitor, stalk, or control victims. Companion legislation was introduced in the Senate by Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Deb Fischer (R-NE).
“We need to cut red tape for survivors trying to rebuild their lives after escaping their abuser,” said Rep. Kuster, founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence. “My legislation, the Safe Connections Act of 2022, provides a clear template for survivors to leave a shared phone plan with their abuser and access financial assistance as they get their expenses in order. I was proud to lead the House in passing this critical legislation today, and I urge the Senate to follow suit to ensure the safety of survivors and help them quickly cut ties with their abusers.”
“Survivors of domestic violence face major barriers when trying to leave their abusers, including becoming stuck in shared phone plans that abusers can use to monitor, harass, and control them. The Safe Connections Act ensures all survivors can remove themselves from shared phone plans without prohibitive costs and requirements and enroll in the Lifeline Program or the Affordable Connectivity Program to obtain new phones or phone services at discounted prices,” said Rep. Eshoo.
“Cell phones are lifelines for domestic abuse survivors, allowing them to stay connected with family and friends, seek the resources they need, and begin building a new life away from their abusers,” said Rep. Walberg. “By passing the Safe Connections Act, we are taking important steps to ensure that domestic abuse survivors are able to maintain their current phones lines without having to worry about high fees and contracts. I am pleased to see our legislation receive strong bipartisan support today in the House, and we will keep pushing forward to get it signed into law.”