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New law aims to protect domestic violence victims

READ MORE: New law aims to protect domestic violence victims
Domestic violence is a fact of life for one in four women. But now domestic violence victims in North Carolina have an extra layer of protection. In the past when victims of domestic violence wanted to change their names to escape their abusers that name change would still be public record. Now domestic violence victims can change their names privately. It's a small difference in the law that could have a huge impact. For victims of domestic violence, it's often a last resort. Women who are abused by their significant others often change their names as a step toward starting a new life. But up until this week victims of domestic violence in North Carolina were required to publicly disclose a name change, just like anyone wanting to change their name for any other reason. For victims of abuse, a name change can be what saves their life. An Open Gate Domestic Violence Shelter spokesperson said, "The most dangerous point in domestic violence relationships is when they leave their abusers. The violence tends to escalate then. The stalking can increase. So, usually when they're leaving their abuser is it necessary for them to change their name so they can't be identified." Sen. Julia Boseman said, "These people are the most severe cases. They are scared for their lives and in many cases, they're running to try to protect their families from the abuser." Sen. Boseman was the sole primary sponsor of the new law. While serving as the co-chair on the joint legislative commission on domestic violence Boseman helped identify issues that needed to be changed. It became her top priority to introduce legislation to protect the privacy of domestic violence victims. "What this bill will do is when they do go to change their name, if you're a victim of domestic violence, it's a sealed file, much like an adoption, without the posting requirements that there are typically with a name change," Boesman said. Sen. Boseman said this bill was difficult to push through. Critics argued the privacy protection rule could be abused by people trying to change their names to escape creditors. But Boseman was able to sway opponents by citing the thousands of victims of domestic violence in this state the law would help.

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