FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 31, 2005
AUSTIN, TX - Today Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. filed a bill creating an Address Confidentiality Program that would allow the Attorney General's Office to establish a confidential post office box address for any victim of family violence, sexual assault, or stalking, once they have met the program's eligibility requirements.
Seventeen Senators signed on as co-authors of Senate Bill 309.
"The establishment of an Address Confidentiality Program in Texas is long overdue," said Sen. Lucio. "The program is designed to provide for the safety and protection of victims of family violence, sexual assault and stalking. These particular crimes are intrusive to the victims because of the ongoing threat that the perpetrators of these crimes often present to their victims.
"Even if victims are able to move away from an address known to the perpetrator," he continued, "there are no mechanisms or safeguards in place that insure that the victim's location is kept confidential and away from a person who presents a serious threat. This program affords such protection."
Today the Texas Senate passed a resolution recognizing January as "National Stalking Awareness Month." More than a million women and nearly 400,000 men are stalked annually, and one in 12 women and one in 45 men will be stalked in their lifetimes. The majority of victims are stalked by someone they know. Of those women who have been killed by an intimate partner, 76 percent were stalked by that partner in the year before their deaths, and 81 percent of women stalked by a current or former intimate partner are eventually physically assaulted by that individual.
Sen. Lucio added, "Often, victims of these crimes remain in danger even if they move, so if we can create a safety net for them through this program, then perhaps we can protect more lives."
Fifteen states currently have similar programs. The bill will now be assigned to a committee for consideration.
Note: George Salinas, legislative aide, is handling this legislation for Sen. Lucio and he can be reached at 512-463-0127.