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Bill meant to help domestic violence survivors establish separate living becomes law

 People gather at the University of Tulsa for an event meant to spotlight domestic violence
Domestic Violence Intervention Services (DVIS)
People gather at the University of Tulsa for an event meant to spotlight domestic violence

A new state law aims to help victims of domestic violence live independently.

House Bill 2242 mandates utility companies waive credit and deposit requirements for documented victims of domestic violence.

Author Rep. Mike Dobrinski of Okeene told Public Radio Tulsa the law could be a great help to people during the worst time of their lives.

“I hope that the agencies and authorities that are always dealing in those situations learn of this [law] quickly,” said Dobrinski.

Sen. Adam Pugh, also an author of HB 2242, pointed in a statement to Oklahoma’s track record with abuse. Last year, the nonprofit Violence Policy Center ranked Oklahoma as second in the nation for murders of women by men.

“Given the prevalence of domestic violence in our state and the fact that more women are killed by men than in any other state, we must do all we can to get these victims away from their abusers as quickly as possible and into a safe space,” Pugh said.

Acceptable documentation can include an existing protective order, a statement from law enforcement, a statement from a domestic violence shelter or from a domestic violence program.

Before joining Public Radio Tulsa, Elizabeth Caldwell was a freelance reporter and a teacher. She holds a master's from Hollins University. Her audio work has appeared at KCRW, CBC's The World This Weekend, and The Missouri Review. She is a south Florida native.