|Posted:||October 30, 2015 02:36 PM|
|From:||Representative Karen Boback|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Fee Waiver - Domestic Violence Victims|
|As October, which is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, comes to a close, this memorandum is being circulated to ask you to please join me as a co-sponsor of legislation that would help victims of domestic violence who escape their abusive situation. The legislation would waive the fees associated with replacing critical state documents, including driver’s licenses, vehicle registrations, and birth certificates, for those who find themselves without those documents as a result of the abuse.
A victim who leaves an abusive partner often experiences situational poverty due to a variety of factors, including an abusive partner’s financial control over the victim. A survey conducted by the National Network to End Domestic Violence indicates that financial abuse is experienced in 98% of abusive relationships and that the lack of financial resources is consistently reported as one of the top reasons survivors stay or return to their abusers.
Abusive partners often exercise power and control over his/her victim by destroying or withholding vital documents such as birth certificates of the victim and children, a victim’s driver’s license, vehicle titles and vehicle registrations. Victims in danger may be forced to flee with nothing more than the clothes on their back. Important documents could be left with an abusive partner without a safe way for the victim to retrieve them.
Under this legislation, PennDOT and the Department of Health will waive the fees associated with providing duplicates of certain state-issued vital documents for victims of domestic violence and their dependent children. The covered state documents will include certificate of title, photo ID, non-commercial driver’s license, camera card, a vehicle registration, and birth certificates.
Waiving vital document fees for domestic violence victims and their dependent children supports the financial independence of victims as they pursue a life free from violence. What also warrants attention is that a parent who flees with children, needs to enroll them in a school system. This would require a birth certificate as well as valid identification for all who left home. By waiving fees, the victims can establish identification and get on with their lives.
This legislation is supported by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Please join me as a co-sponsor of this critical legislation.
Introduced as HB1687