New Oklahoma Law Helps Domestic Violence Victims
TULSA, Oklahoma - Ten new laws go into effect Nov. 1 in Oklahoma and one of them gives victims of domestic violence a new way to protect themselves from their attackers.
It's called the Protection from Domestic Abuse Act and it could help hundreds of victims take control of their lives again with something as simple as changing their cell phone and utility bill.
Megan Martin has worked with the DVIS legal department for 10 years.
Each month, she works with hundreds of men and women trying to get out of violent situations.
"It's not uncommon that I will see a client who says, 'he turned my cell phone off or she turned off the gas or electric,'" Martin said. "These are some of the subtle ways in which control can happen in an abusive relationship."
The new law allows domestic violence victims to change their cell phone and utility information out of their abuser's name and into their own.
The victim has to have a protective order against the abuser then a judge can order the name transfer.
"This way without having to just scrap the whole phone and start a new one with a new number and new contacts ... they can now take that phone with them without alerting where they are going to the abuser," Martin said.
The new law also includes the victim's children if their names are included in the protective order.
The step may seem small to some but Martin said it's a huge step for victims struggling to get out of dangerous situations.
"To be able to make sure that them and the children can still make that contact without fear of the abuser being able to track it is a big deal," Martin said.
The DVIS Hotline can be reached at 918-7HELP-ME, or 918-743-5763.
The bill of the law can be read below: