EVANSVILLE, Ind. — A new Indiana law hopes to help those affected by domestic violence leave abusive relationships.

The Evansville Courier and Press (http://bit.ly/2rmZgXo ) reported that the law, taking effect next month, allows judges to approve the transfer of phone plans over to domestic violence victims without the account holder’s consent. It also allows pets to be included in protective orders for domestic violence.

That portion of the bill hopes to prevent abusers from using pets as leverage against their partners, said Republican Rep. Wendy McNamara of Evansville. Previously, wireless carriers weren’t allowed to make such transfers under Indiana law, so representatives from AT&T and Verizon pushed for a change, she said.

The bill aims to allow domestic violence survivors to make a “clean break” from their abusers, McNamara said.

Sidney Hardgrave is the executive director of Holly’s House, victim advocacy center. The new law could be empowering to domestic violence survivors, she said.

“When someone tries to regain independence from that relationship, anything that the abuser can continue to control becomes a tool to continue to manipulate the victim,” Hardgrave said.

Access to a phone is an important safety measure to ensure survivors can reach 911 or friends and family when they’re in need, she said.

McNamara also proposed a bill this year that would’ve taken guns away from those arrested in domestic violence cases that involved a firearm or the threat of the use of a firearm, but it didn’t advance.


Information from: Evansville Courier & Press, http://www.courierpress.com