WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), joined with Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) introduced the Safe Connections Act to help 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.
“As lawmakers, we must make resources available to survivors of domestic violence and create channels that they can use to separate themselves from their abuser. I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing the Safe Connections Act to help survivors of domestic violence navigate these challenges as new technology immerges,” said Senator Capito.
Survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, sexual assault, and human trafficking often face challenges when establishing independence from an abuser. These include financial insecurity and limited access to the communications tools essential to maintaining connections with family, social safety networks, employers, and support services. As survivors seek help and stabilize their lives, the Safe Connections Act would help them stay safe and connected 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 for up to six-months as they become financially stable.
- Requiring the FCC to establish rules that would ensure any calls or texts to hotlines do not appear on call logs.
Full text of the legislation is available here.