FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 16, 2007
AUSTIN, TX -- Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. announced the Senate last week approved his bill that would create an address confidentiality program to assist eligible victims of family violence, sexual assault or stalking.
Senate Bill 74 directs the Attorney General to establish the program by designating a substitute post office box address that a victim of these crimes can use in lieu of a physical address.
"There is currently no mechanism in Texas designed to help victims of family violence, sexual assault or stalking from keeping their locations confidential to protect them from their assailants," said Sen. Lucio. "This program affords such protection."
These particular crimes are intrusive to the victims because of the ongoing threat that those who harmed or stalked them can still locate them. "I think about the address confidentiality program as something which could have saved my grandmother's life if it had been available to her," said Donna Bloom of the Texas Advocacy Project, who testified in support of SB 74 and whose grandmother was killed in her home by her grandfather after she had ended the relationship.
In cases of family violence, the violence often escalates when victims leave the relationship and seek a new address. According to the Texas Council on Family Violence, 143 Texas women were killed by their male intimate partners in 2005. Sixteen of those victims were killed as they were leaving the relationship or after they had already left.
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."
The bill must now be considered in the House.
Note. Policy Analyst Kate Volti (512-463-0127) handles this issue for the Senator.