House Bill 1135 allows victims of domestic violence who are receiving services from an agency accredited with the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic Violence, would be eligible to receive a one-time fee waiver for obtaining a copy of a birth certificate.

A bill aimed at helping victims of domestic violence has been approved by the Missouri House of Representatives and is moving on to the Senate. 

House Bill 1135 allows victims of domestic violence who are receiving services from an agency accredited with the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic Violence, would be eligible to receive a one-time fee waiver for obtaining a copy of a birth certificate. The bill is intended to help victims who are often forced to leave dangerous situations without important documents.  Sheree Keely, the executive director of Citizens Against Domestic Violence that provides services in the lake area, said victims are often in a situation where they have left a relationship leave without the means to start over. 

“Many times victims come to us with nothing, they literally have to start from scratch getting their birth certificate so they can get their SS card and driver’s license in order to work and support their family.  This is a very typical story for many of the clients we serve in shelter,” Keely said. “The behavior of the abuser is purposeful and intended to control the victim.  Victims are cut off from any outside support.  When they decide to leave the situation, they have to rebuild their life.  They have been isolated and now they need to start learning how to live independently and it is terrifying for them.  They need a lot of courage.”

CADV provides crisis intervention, shelter, advocacy, and support to victims of domestic and sexual violence.

According to State Rep. Don Mayhew, a supporter of the bill, individuals who leave a home where abuse occurs often leave behind birth certificates as well as other documents and identification. When they attempt to obtain new forms of identification such as a drivers license or try and open a bank account, it is difficult to do without a birth certificate. The fee can be a burden to a victim who is also facing numerous other expenses while trying to rebuild their life. 

The sponsor of the bill, State Rep. Chris Dinkins, said the victims are vulnerable and need access to birth certificates in order to participate in legitimate activities leading to independence and self-sufficiency. Abusers often take control of their vital records as a way to keep them from leaving. 

The bill also provides a free birth certificate without the consent of signature of a parent or guardian. 

For more information about CADV or assistance, call 573-346-9630 or go to www.cadv-voc.org.

1 in 4 women have suffered severe violence from an intimate partner.

1 in 7 men have suffered severe violence from an intimate partner.

Every day, 3 women are killed by an intimate partner.

55% of female homicides were related to domestic violence.

1 in 3 women are survivors of sexual violence.

2 out of 3 sexual assaults go unreported to the police.

60% of survivors know the person who assaulted them.