Assemblymember Gloria Successfully Protects Domestic Violence Survivors from Financial Abuse

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Governor Newsom Signs Gloria Bill Unburdening DV Survivors Who Experience Financial Abuse from Partners

SACRAMENTO, CA – California State Assemblymember Todd Gloria (D-San Diego) has successfully strengthened protections for survivors of domestic violence in the State of California. Today, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 2517 (AB 2517), authored by Assemblymember Gloria, which will allow courts to find that specific debts were incurred as part of a domestic violence situation and therefore not the responsibility of the survivor.

Financial abuse is an invisible form of domestic violence that has lasting impacts even after a couple are no longer together,” said Assemblymember Todd Gloria. “Today, we are lifting up our domestic violence survivors and making clear that we will not let abusive partners put them in financial ruin. I want to thank Governor Newsom for signing AB 2517 into law and for standing with our survivors of domestic violence.”

AB 2517 builds on current provisions for restraining orders in the Domestic Violence Prevention Act to better address the debts an abusive partner may incur in the victim’s name without their consent. This can include stealing their identity, opening credit cards/loans, forcing or forging their signature on financial documents, and other debts they coerce the survivor into through threats and intimidation.

Financial abuse is one of the most devastating methods of keeping a survivor trapped in an abusive relationship and deeply diminishes the victim’s ability to stay safe after leaving an abusive partner,” said Krista Niemczyk, Public Policy Director for the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence. “By signing AB 2517, California is taking an important step in helping relieve survivors of the burdens they experience from debt their abusive partner incurred in the survivor’s name, without their consent or knowledge. This will help increase survivor’s ability to secure financial freedom and stability.”

AB 2517 would authorize the court (in an ex parte order) to find that specific debts were incurred as a result of domestic violence and without the consent of the partner. By doing so, the court can assign debts to the abuser and/or allow the survivor to use the court order as documentation for civil debt relief protections.

Financial abuse has been found to occur in 99 percent of domestic violence cases.

AB 2517 received strong bipartisan support throughout the legislative process, and is set to take effect on January 1, 2021.