Measure Includes Provision for Reproductive Health Service Providers
Seeking more safeguards for victims of stalking and sexual assault, a measure amending current state statue to include such individuals in the Address Confidentiality Program administered by the Division on Women in the Department of Children and Families (DCF) passed the full General Assembly Thursday by a vote of 75-0.
The measure (A-1651/A-1861) is sponsored by Assembly Democrats Eliana Pintor Marin (D-Essex), Pamela Lampitt (D-Burlington, Camden), Nancy Pinkin (D-Middlesex) and John McKeon (D-Essex, Morris) and would also apply to any employee, volunteer, contractor, client or patient of a reproductive health service provider, or their family member.
The Address Confidentiality Program allows victims to establish an alternate mailing address and keep their actual address confidential. It forwards the participant’s mail to their actual address which remains confidential and available only to employees of the program and to law enforcement.
“When a stalker obtains the actual home address of the person they are harassing, it can become a nightmare for the individual being harassed,” said Pintor Marin. “A person’s home should be a safe haven, but when stalking is involved, such safety is not possible.”
“Unfortunately, there are people in our society who believe that it is their right to intimidate those who may not share their views,” said Lampitt. “Yet having an opposing view does not give anyone the right to resort to such tactics as, in the instance of reproductive health service workers and their clients, taking their photos, capturing their license plates, following them, and threatening their lives.”
“Victims of sexual assault face life-changing emotional, psychological and physical hardships,” said Pinkin. “Allowing them to participate in this program is just one of many steps that are necessary on their journey towards healing.”
“Stalking is a serious crime and we must do all we can to protect our residents,” said McKeon. “Expanding the Address Confidentiality Program can help give people the peace of mind they deserve and another layer of security they need.”
The bill will now go to the Senate for further consideration.