MO lawmakers consider bill to help abuse victims keep cell numbers

MO lawmakers consider bill to help victims of domestic violence

MISSOURI (KFVS) - The Missouri House will consider legislation that would make it easier for victims of domestic violence to recover their cell phone number from their abuser.

Lawmakers in the House will read Senate Bill 838 for the second time on Tuesday, after the Senate passed the legislation last week.

Under this act, a court order would permit a wireless service provider to transfer the victim's cell phone service to a new account. This allows the victim to keep their wireless services and associated telephone numbers.

Advocates for the bill, like AT&T Missouri, say this legislation would give victims a more safe way to access emotional, financial and legal support. Gaining access to those resources can be difficult when a victim is on the same service plan as the abuser.

"SB838 allows victims to maintain their cell phone numbers and service separate from their abusers – often a key communications tool to safely create a buffer and maintain life-connections needed when escaping domestic violence," said Colleen Coble, CEO of the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.

Specifically, the legislation would allow full orders of protection to include provisions so victims could retain their cell phone numbers and services separate from family plans with their abusers. The court's order would permit a wireless service provider to transfer the victim's, and the victim's minor children's, cell phone service to a new account where they can retain their wireless services and associated telephone numbers

In addition, the legislation prohibits certain information regarding the petitioner from being made available to the original account holder.

Once the order is approved and transferred, the victim will assume all financial responsibility for that number.

It is now up for the State House to consider SB838.

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