New Arkansas Law Helps Disconnect Domestic Violence Victims From Abusers

ARKANSAS (KFSM) -- A new Arkansas law helps domestic violence survivors who share a phone plan with their abuser, keep it separate from their abuser.

Act 577 empowers and protects the right of victims by laying out a clear process for victims to gain exclusive control of their wireless device, billing info and account.

Before, cell phone providers couldn't separate the plans without consent from the account holder. With a shared account, abusers can also track their victims and who they're talking to.

Many agree that a cell phone is a life line. Arkansas Representative Jeff Williams thinks technology these days is great, but it can also hinder us.

Williams grew up in a violent household, which is why he sponsored this legislation and helped push it through. "I wish my mother had that opportunity," said Williams." She finally escaped, it took a while to do so, but if I can help one individual escape the situation one day earlier it was all worth it."

Amber Lacewell with the Northwest Arkansas Women's Shelter sees men and women in this situation often. "They're leaving home a lot of the time," said Lacewell. "A lot of their belongings are left behind and sometimes those things can't be regained."

That's why advocates say this law is important. Victims are working to create a new life and transform from a victim to a survivor.

"When you're looking at the life of a victim of domestic violence who is escaping abuse, this is one small, very significant step that's going to help them on their way," Lacewell said.

Northwest Arkansas 24 hour Hotlines:

Northwest Arkansas Women's Shelter: 1-800-775-9011 or 479-246-9999

Peace At Home Family Shelter:  479-442-9811

River Valley 24 hour Hotlines:

Donald W. Reynolds Crisis Intervention Center: 1-800-359-0056

If you'd like a full list of Arkansas shelters by city click here.