Bill seeks to protect domestic violence victims from social media harassment


OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A bill that passed the state Senate would give more protections to domestic violence survivors when it comes to harassment.

HB 1007 updates current domestic violence laws to include a common form of communication: social media.

“Really proud of that bill and I think it just gives one more avenue for domestic violence survivors to have some teeth in being bullied or harassed on social media,” Sen. Jessica Garvin (R-Duncan), one of the bill’s authors, said.

The bill makes things like threatening messages, impersonating someone else, posting sensitive information without a person’s consent, or making fake accounts to get information to try to threaten someone all against the law.

Angela Beatty, chief officer of domestic violence victim services at the YWCA Oklahoma City, says those things happen quite frequently.

“It’s not uncommon for abusers to create fake accounts and stalk and harass victims through those accounts,” she said.

Beatty says the accessibility of online technology plays a big role.

“Social media harassment is one of the most common things we see with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault just because it’s so easy and everyone has it,” she said.

She hopes the bill will have a strong impact on protecting victims.

“Legislation like this is exactly the kind of stuff that we love to see to keep victims safe in our communities,” she said.

The bill goes back to the House for approval.

If you find yourself in a domestic violence situation, you can call 1-800-522-SAFE.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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