State Representatives Cindy Abrams (R- Harrison) and Jeff LaRe (R- Violet Township) today introduced legislation to increase protection for victims of domestic violence, menacing by stalking, human trafficking and sexual assault.
Their legislation, House Bill 429, would expand the state’s Safe at Home Address Confidentiality Program to give victims of these crimes the opportunity to keep more of their records confidential and out of the hands of their attacker.
Under the program, participants are assigned a substitute address to help keep their address from being a public record, ensuring they are not located by their assailant.
LaRe, whose background is in security and law enforcement, said the bill is an important step for crime victims.
“The Ohio Secretary of State’s Safe at Home program is an essential, protective tool for victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, stalking, rape or sexual battery,” said LaRe. “My hope is this bill will promote greater participation in the program by assuring participants of their confidentiality and providing them with further peace of mind.”
This legislation would expand the current program in three ways:
1) Authorize the Ohio Secretary of State to create a real property confidentiality notice for participants to use as they file with the County Recorder when purchasing a home
2) Allow the Secretary of State to communicate with the United States Postal Service, a judge or magistrate, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, school administrators, public assistance administrators, and food pantry administrators on the participant’s behalf upon their approval
3) Give the participants involved in a child custody cases the opportunity to show cause to the court as to why their address should remain confidential
Abrams, who previously served was a police officer, said the bill will increase protection for crime victims.
“Currently, victims run the risk of being discovered by their perpetrator with just a few simple keystrokes on a government website,” Abrams said. “The government’s job is to protect law-abiding citizens, and this bill will help do just that.”