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Proposed Bill Would Toughen Missouri's Domestic Violence Laws

Secretary of State Jason Kander and State Sen. Gina Walsh want to expand the definition of stalking to include harrassers trying to locate the confidential addresses of domestic violence survivors.
(Photo credit: mikecogh via flickr)

Missouri’s Secretary of State Jason Kander is pushing for legislation to toughen Missouri’s domestic violence laws. KSMU’s Jennifer Davidson has more.

A bill sponsored by state Senator Gina Walsh and supported by Kander would expand stalking laws to include trying to get the address of someone in Missouri’s Safe at Home program.  That’s a program run by Kander’s office that keeps the addresses of domestic violence survivors confidential after they leave their abusers. It’s also for survivors of sexual assault, rape and stalking. You can see some of our past reporting on Safe at Home here.

The Safe at Home program allows participants to use a substitute address on public records and mail. But since some abusers are obsessed with control, they attempt to circumvent the program by locating the survivor’s confidential address.

If this bill passed, that attempt to locate a domestic abuse survivor would be subject to a class D felony and up to four years imprisonment.

Kander has also encouraged lawmakers to incorporate the proposal into their work on revising Missouri’s criminal code.

The new bill is Senate Bill 710. You can read the full bill here.