MD Bills Help Shield Addresses of Domestic-Violence Survivors - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

MD Bills Help Shield Addresses of Domestic-Violence Survivors

Posted: Feb 08, 2018 8:42 PM Updated:

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Domestic violence, stalking and human-trafficking survivors would be given an opportunity to shield property records from abusers under three identical bills in the Maryland Legislature this session.

Maryland's Safe At Home Address Confidentiality Program provides a substitute address, cloaking a survivor's location, and includes a free mail-forwarding service.

Delegate Anne Healey, D-Prince George's, the sponsor of one version of the bill, said the purpose of the legislation is to turn what is already practice into concrete law.

"The bottom line is, what this bill does is it tries to protect the identity of victims of domestic violence, stalking and human trafficking so that they can buy a home and their identity will not be available to the people that might want to do them harm," Healey told the University of Maryland's Capital News Service on Tuesday.

House bill 255 and House bill 633, presented together by Healey and Maryland Secretary of State John Wobensmith to the Maryland House Environment and Transportation Committee on Tuesday, would establish procedures for participants in the Address Confidentiality Program or the Human Trafficking Address Confidentiality Program to use an address assigned by the Office of the Secretary of State as a substitute.

The former is a request of Gov. Larry Hogan and Wobensmith, the latter is spearheaded by Healey; they are identical.

Healey's bill is cross-filed with Senate bill 578, and she said all three pieces of legislation are identical in an effort to make sure "everybody knows that everybody supports this bill."

"Just because you are a victim of a violent crime...you don't have to give up the dream of owning a home," Healey said.

Anne Hoyer, director of the state's address confidentiality program, called Safe At Home, told a story of a woman who called in to the organization after hearing of the legislation. The woman also submitted written testimony, detailing her experiences.

In the 1990s, the then-21-year-old woman was raped in her then-home. Her attacker was convicted and given back-to-back life sentences without parole. The woman opened her own business years later and launched a website including the street address, under the impression she would be notified if her attacker was released.

One day, decades after being attacked, she was made aware of a parole hearing after her attacker contested his sentencing. Weeks before the hearing, she received a packet in the mail including details of the rape, sent by her attacker, and her "worst nightmare had materialized." Her attacker had found her.

The woman said in her testimony she was brought to tears by the legislation because of her belief in how it could help people in similar situations.

"This bill, a minor detail for many, would be life-saving for me," the woman wrote.

Another woman, who testified under the name Jane Doe, urged for a favorable report by explaining the bill needed to be passed for a woman like her, who was abused, followed and had a protective order but, because her abuser knew her address, never felt safe.

Doe left her home state with her children, away from her closest family and friends to join Maryland's Safe At Home Program.

"(For a woman like me, who) came here to rest upon the bosom of the state of Maryland for safety and (to avoid) further harm," Doe said. "I ask you respectively, unanimously, please pass this bill, for a woman like me."

Delegate Marvin Holmes, D-Prince George's, said Doe's story took the wind out of his sails and he was pleased she found sanctuary in Maryland, while other delegates also commended her bravery.

Representatives from the Maryland Bankers Association, including President and CEO Kathleen Murphy, urged for a favorable report with amendments. The association believes it is essential that the shielding process is carefully done so it doesn't interrupt the "free flow of credit and other financial services in Maryland," according to written testimony.

Upon the conclusion of the bankers' testimony, Committee Chairman Delegate Kumar Barve, D-Montgomery, said he wanted to work out the technical issues because he has a strong sense the committee wants to move forward with the bill.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Police Identify Driver in Crash that Shut Down Rehoboth Avenue

    Rehoboth Police Identify Driver in Crash that Shut Down Avenue

    Jul 14, 2018 10:44 PM2018-07-15 02:44:00 GMT
    Saturday, July 14 2018 10:45 PM EDT2018-07-15 02:45:28 GMT
    REHOBOTH BEACH, Del.- Rehoboth Beach Police have identified the Middletown man accused of hitting multiple vehicles and injuring five people last weekend. Police say 45-year-old Martin Tuohy of Middletown was attempting to back out of a parking spot whenMore
    REHOBOTH BEACH, Del.- Rehoboth Beach Police have identified the Middletown man accused of hitting multiple vehicles and injuring five people last weekend. Police say 45-year-old Martin Tuohy of Middletown was attempting to back out of a parking spot when More
  • Milford Crash Shuts Down Route One, Causes Critical Injuries

    Milford Crash Shuts Down Route One, Causes Critical Injuries

    Jul 15, 2018 9:08 PM2018-07-16 01:08:00 GMT
    Sunday, July 15 2018 9:08 PM EDT2018-07-16 01:08:48 GMT
    MILFORD, Del.- A Sunday evening crash put multiple people in the hospital and shut down both directions of Route One for hours. According to the Delaware State Police, the crash took place at New Wharf Road and Bay Road in Milford. Both the Delaware StateMore
    MILFORD, Del.- A Sunday evening crash put multiple people in the hospital and shut down both directions of Route One for hours. According to the Delaware State Police, the crash took place at New Wharf Road and Bay Road in Milford. Both the Delaware StateMore
  • UPDATE: Police Investigating Deadly Motorcycle Crash in Laurel

    Police Investigating Motorcycle Crash in Laurel

    Jul 14, 2018 4:53 PM2018-07-14 20:53:00 GMT
    Sunday, July 15 2018 3:49 PM EDT2018-07-15 19:49:37 GMT
    LAUREL, Del.- The Delaware State Police is advising people to avoid parts of Laurel due to a motorcycle crash. Troopers say the crash took place on Ralphs Road between Waycross Road and Skeeter Bit Lane west of Laurel. Officers classify the crash as serioMore
    LAUREL, Del.- The Delaware State Police is advising people to avoid parts of Laurel due to a motorcycle crash. Troopers say the crash took place on Ralphs Road between Waycross Road and Skeeter Bit Lane west of Laurel. Officers classify the crash as serioMore
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices