Changes may be coming to GA domestic violence law - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Changes may be coming to GA domestic violence law

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Victims of domestic violence could change their names privately under a bill approved by the Georgia House.
House members voted unanimously Monday in support of the proposal from Rep. Mandi Ballinger, R-Canton. The Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence has also supported the change.      

READ MORE | House backs bill for domestic violence victims
Allison Smith-Burk is the group's director of public policy and says the change would give advocacy organizations another tool to help victims stay safe.
Name changes now are required to be listed in public court documents. Smith-Burk says that's frightening for victims who worry that an abusive spouse or partner will continue to stalk them.

"They will try to find any way. If they want to find them they're going to do whatever they can to try to find those victims. And that's the reason we try to come in and offer a safe shelter or anything that we can to help this process or keep the victim safe," Northwest Georgia Family Crisis Center Director Katora Printup said.

The bill would allow a judge to keep name-change records sealed in domestic violence cases.
Friday marks a key deadline for lawmakers. Bills must pass at least one chamber to remain alive.

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