OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A measure to provide financial assistance to victims of domestic violence has passed the Oklahoma Senate.

House Bill 2242 requires public utilities and municipally-owned utility providers to waive the initial credit and deposit requirements for domestic violence victims.

“Often times, victims of domestic violence escape their abusers with little to no money and no credit. They need to secure safe housing quickly, but mandatory credit checks and deposits can be a deterrent to leaving and seeking safety,” Sen. Adam Pugh, (R-Edmond), said. “Victims should not have to choose between their safety or that of their children in these emergency situations. This will help them get settled in a new residence, so they can focus on healing and moving forward.”

A recent study by World Population Review ranked Oklahoma first nationally for domestic violence. The study also ranked the state as third in the nation for the number of women killed by men.

Under HB 2242, victims seeking the waiver must have a certification letter from a law enforcement officer or a domestic violence shelter or program to validate their situation. Those letters expire after 90 days. An existing protective order can also be used.

“We want to do all we can to make sure victims of domestic violence are able to get somewhere safe away from their abuser. Easing the burden of these up-front fees will help,” Rep. Mike Dobrinski, (R-Okeene,) said. “I appreciate Senator Pugh running this in the Senate and am grateful for its passage.”

The measure now heads to Gov. Stitt. If it is signed, it goes into effect immediately.