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Assembly Committee Advances Legislation Helping Victims Conceal Personal Information from Abusers

TRENTON (February 23, 2024) – The Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee on Thursday advanced bill A378, which aims to help victims of domestic violence and other crime victims conceal their personal information from their abusers. Assemblyman Sterley Stanley and Assemblywomen Shanique Speight and Verlina Reynolds-Jackson sponsored the bill.

“Domestic violence victims and others fleeing violent relationships deserve the freedom of a fresh start without the fear that their abusers will track them down,” said Assemblyman Stanley (D-Middlesex). ”Access to vital services, without fear that their abusers will gain access to their whereabouts, is a critical step in gaining that independence.”  

The legislation would ensure that health insurance carriers, healthcare providers, and hospitals provide reasonable accommodations with respect to communications on protected health information for individuals receiving certain sensitive services. This could include victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. The bill would require these entities to protect communication of patients’ health information by providing them by alternate means or at an alternate location so as not to endanger the safety of the patient. 

The bill further specifies that if the covered person is a minor, the rights established in the bill may be asserted by, and extend to, the parent or guardian of the minor allowing the adult to access the information.

“Far too often, when a domestic violence victim flees an abusive relationship and moves into her own space, the policyholder receives a notification of the new address,” said Assemblywoman Reynolds-Jackson (D-Mercer, Hunterdon). “This bill would close that loophole.”

“Privacy is a fundamental human need and this bill would offer a shield for individual safety and privacy,” said Assemblywoman Speight (D-Essex). “This bill provides a reprieve for domestic violence survivors, allowing them to feel safe enough to pause and begin the healing process.”

Anyone who has experienced domestic violence and would like to speak with someone about it can call the 24-hour Statewide Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-572-SAFE (7233) or visit https://www.nj.gov/njsp/division/operations/domestic-violence-info.shtml for information about local domestic violence programs.