Eshoo, Kuster Bill to Help Domestic Violence Survivors Signed Into Law
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today President Biden signed into law the Safe Connections Act, legislation introduced by U.S. Reps. Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18) and Annie Kuster (NH-02). The law helps 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.
“I’m proud to announce that the President has signed my legislation into law to help survivors of domestic abuse regain digital independence from their abusers. Survivors of domestic violence face overwhelming barriers when trying to leave their abusers, including becoming stuck in shared phone plans that abusers can use to monitor, harass, and control them. This new law 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 Eshoo.
“The signing of this bipartisan legislation into law represents a meaningful step forward in supporting and protecting individuals who are facing domestic abuse and violence,” said Rep. Kuster, founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence. “This law eliminates barriers facing survivors and provides a clear template for them to leave a shared phone plan with their abuser and access financial assistance as they get their expenses in order. I look forward to seeing this law take effect and will continue working to ensure survivors have the tools and support they need to rebuild their lives and recover.”
The Safe Connections Act helps survivors protect themselves by:
- Allowing survivors to separate a mobile phone line from any shared plan involving an abuser without penalties or other requirements. This includes lines of any dependents in their care;
- Requiring the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to initiate a rulemaking proceeding to seek comment on how to help survivors who separate from a shared plan enroll in the Lifeline Program or the Affordable Connectivity Program for up to six months as they become financially stable; and
- Requiring the FCC to establish rules that would ensure any calls or texts to hotlines do not appear on call logs.