Press Releases

Kuster Ushers Bill To Protect Victims of Domestic Violence Through Key Committee


**The full committee markup is available HERE, and Kuster’s remarks are available HERE**


Washington, D.C. — Today, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) led her legislation, H.R. 7132, the Safe Connections Act of 2022, through the Energy and Commerce Committee, sending the bill to the House Floor. This bipartisan bill would help survivors of domestic violence and other crimes cut ties with their abusers and separate from shared wireless service plans, which can be exploited to monitor, stalk, or control victims. Companion legislation was introduced in the Senate by Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Deb Fischer (R-NE).


“Survivors of domestic violence face enough challenges as they escape their abusers and rebuild their lives — they should not have to worry about their abusers weaponizing and controlling their phone plan,” said Rep. Kuster, founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence. “The Safe Connections Act of 2022 advanced through the Energy and Commerce Committee today provides a clear template for survivors to work with their phone carriers to exit from a shared plan and, where applicable, enroll in the Lifeline Program to help cover phone expenses as they get their finances in order. These are critical steps to ensure the safety of survivors and help them quickly cut ties with their abusers.”


“Survivors of domestic violence face overwhelming barriers when trying to leave their abusers, including becoming stuck in shared phone plans that abusers can use to monitor, harass, and control them,” said Rep. Eshoo. “The Safe Connections Act ensures all survivors can remove themselves from shared phone plans without prohibitive costs and requirements and enroll in the Lifeline Program or the Affordable Connectivity Program to obtain new phones or phone services at discounted prices.”


“I am pleased that this important legislation was forwarded by the Energy and Commerce Committee,” said Rep. Walberg. “In today’s interconnected world, your cell phone is your lifeline. For domestic abuse survivors, that’s even more true – it’s how they stay connected with friends and family, how they can seek resources, and how they can begin building a new life away from their abusers. Domestic abuse survivors should be able to stay connected to their current phone lines without having to worry about high fees and contracts and this legislation takes the measures needed to do that.” 


The Safe Connections Act seeks to help survivors protect themselves by:

  • Allowing survivors to separate a mobile phone line from any shared plan involving an abuser without penalties or other requirements. This includes lines of any dependents in their care;
  • Requiring the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to initiate a rulemaking proceeding to seek comment on how to help survivors who separate from a shared plan enroll in the Lifeline Program for up to six months as they become financially stable; and
  • Requiring the FCC to establish rules that would ensure any calls or texts to hotlines do not appear on call logs.