A Missouri court has denied Attorney General Josh Hawley’s motion to protect the address of a domestic violence victim from her attacker. Hawley (R) is appealing the court’s decision.
“We disagree with the court’s ruling and will continue to litigate vigorously to defend the Safe at Home program,” says Hawley.
Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft (R) says the victim is in an address confidentiality program that his office operates.
“The spirit of the law clearly says that once you are admitted to the program by the Secretary of State, you should be protected. That did not happen,” says Ashcroft. “It shouldn’t happen to a single person. These people have already been victimized with some of the most horrible crimes that can ever be committed against someone. For the state or an arm of the state to participate in re-victimization of them is atrocious.”
The “Safe at Home” program, which began in 2007, aims to shield about 1,500 addresses of domestic violence, rape, human trafficking and stalking victims.
Circuit Judge Sandra Farragut-Hemphill’s January order said a woman in a divorce case had not properly enrolled in the program. The judge said the victim did not include a sworn statement maintaining she was an abuse victim and feared additional violence from her husband.
The woman has re-applied to the program.
Ashcroft has asked legislative leaders to offer amendments this session that would prevent additional instances from happening. The legislative session ends May 12.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers have joined Ashcroft in showing their support, including Senate President Pro Tem Richard (R-Joplin), House Speaker Todd Richardson (R-Poplar Bluff), Senator Bob Dixon (R-Springfield), and State Reps. Tracy McCreery (D-Olivette) and Donna Lichtenegger (R-Cape Girardeau).