Rep. Deanne Mazzochi
Illinois state Rep. Deanne Mazzochi (R-Elmhurst) co-sponsored and helped pass a bill that strengthens protections for female domestic violence victims.
Senate Bill 399 revises the Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, making it a law to keep the address of a domestic violence victim hidden from her abuser by the court system during proceedings.
“Domestic violence often means women and children flee from home to get away from an abusive partner,” Mazzochi, a chief House co-sponsor of the bill, said in a press release. “But that is precisely the point when they are most at risk for physical attack. Our local shelters do an incredible job of assistance, but they need to rely on law enforcement and their government in the aftermath, to protect them from repeat violence at the hand of their perpetrators. We shouldn’t undermine that by having them turn right around and disclose to a court – and by extension, their abuser – precisely where they are, and make them easier for an abuser to target.”
Mazzochi vowed that getting SB 399 unanimously passed through both the House and Senate is only the start, particularly given that research proves that most domestic violence attackers are likely to strike again.
“This bipartisan solution will help domestic violence victims break free from abusive relationships, but this new law is only a start,” she said. “Victims often need a hand up to escape the cycle of abuse, and children need added protection in our courtroom system.”
The first-term lawmaker previously sponsored HB 3182, which was similarly designed to fill gaps in the child court protections system by stipulating in cases of “allocation of parental responsibilities, or domestic violence, the court shall only appoint a guardian ad item if the guardian ad litem has completed 20 hours of classroom training and 20 hours of training by a domestic abuse advocate.”
Mazzochi said she views all the actions as necessary steps in keeping victims safe and moving forward.
“Our legislature should always be looking to find ways to give domestic violence survivors the tools they need to emerge from violence and live a safe and productive life,” she said.