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Senate Approves Bill to Protect Privacy of Domestic Violence SurvivorsSalem-News.com
SB 347 exempts domestic violence centers from public records law.
(SALEM, Ore.) - Today the Senate voted to protect the privacy of Oregon’s domestic violence survivors by passing Senate Bill 347, which shields publicly-administered domestic violence centers from public records law. In doing this, the bill will protect survivors by removing an abuser’s ability to use the public records system to track victims.
“Our first priority when it comes to domestic violence issues has to be ensuring the safety of Oregon’s domestic violence survivors, and this bill does just that,” said Senate Majority Leader Diane Rosenbaum (D-Portland), who carried the bill on the Senate floor.
“Women living in fear of their abuser should know if they visit a shelter, they aren’t putting themselves and their families at greater risk because an abuser demands public records about their stay.”
The need for SB 347 became apparent after the opening of Portland’s Gateway Center for Domestic Violence Services in September 2010. The Gateway Center is a publicly-administered one-stop shop where victims of domestic violence, and their children, can receive a variety of services to ensure their safety and address their long-term needs.
But as a public agency maintained by the city of Portland, any records maintained pertaining to victims seeking services as the Gateway Center are subject to public records requests.
Therefore, the Center currently does not track visitors day-to-day in fear that an abuser will seek to discover those records and use them against a victim, thus placing the victim’s life in greater danger. By allowing the Center to keep records of its visitors, they can keep better track of their clients and patterns of abuse.
“The Gateway Center is the first of its kind here in Oregon and I hope it can become a model for sheltering our state’s domestic violence survivors,” said Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson (D-Gresham).
“By passing laws like SB 347 and supporting shelters like The Gateway Center, we can protect victims and makes it harder for abusers to continue the cycle of abuse.”
SB 347 now goes to the House for consideration.
Source: News release from the Oregon Legislature
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