New York, NY – Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan) announced today that her bill allowing survivors of domestic violence to easily opt out of phone, cable and utility contracts shared with their abuser and have their name modified or removed from a public telephone directory has become law. Survivors will no longer be required to submit an order of protection or overcome other barriers to exit contracts or obtain a non-published phone listing.
“Contractual red tape should not impede the safety of those fleeing domestic violence,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF – Manhattan). “While it may sound simple, determining how to remove oneself from a utility, phone or cable contract after leaving a domestic violence situation is a fraught process, and one that can be easily weaponized by an abuser. I am proud that my legislation provides survivors a modicum of relief and protection when making the decision to escape a dangerous and threatening situation.”
In the United States, it is estimated that one in four women and one in seven men will experience domestic violence during their lifetime, a figure that only worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rosenthal’s legislation, bill A.6207-B, was signed by Governor Hochul as part of a bill package that will protect survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. The bill was sponsored in the New York State Senate by Kevin Parker.
Under the new law, phone, cable and utility companies must remove a survivor from the shared contract within seven days of a request. Companies may not impose fees, penalties or other restrictions such as requiring the payment of arrears or requiring the approval of the primary account holder.
“Being unable to leave a shared contract or secure a non-published phone listing places domestic violence survivors at greater risk of harm,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal. “The enactment of this legislation, during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, will provide a sense of relief to survivors around the state, and I thank Governor Hochul for signing it into law.”