Domestic Abuse and Social Media Harassment advances

Mike Seals - April 25, 2021 10:36 pm

 OKLAHOMA CITY – A measure to better protect victims of domestic violence from harassment through social media was approved Thursday in the Senate. Sen. Jessica Garvin, R-Duncan, is the principal Senate author of the measure and said House Bill 1007 is needed to bring victim protection laws in line with new technologies and communication platforms.

“Sadly, domestic violence is all too common in our state, and those who prey on others will use whatever means they can to break down their victims—be it physical, emotional or mental,” Garvin said. “While, for the most part, our laws address the physical and emotional abuse victims face, this update is needed to stop the harassment and mental games being played on social media to further terrorize and hurt victims.”

HB 1007 expands “harassment” as it relates to the Domestic Abuse Reporting Act to include social media postings or other electronic communications that includes abusive and threatening messages, impersonating another person, posting sensitive or embarrassing information without a person’s consent, and the creation of fake accounts to acquire private information with the intent to threaten or cause humiliation to someone.

Rep. Carol Bush, R-Tulsa, is the principal House author of the bill.

“We must do all we can to protect domestic violence victims from any form of harassment, physical or mental. This bill ensures this extends even to the internet. I’m glad to partner with Senator Garvin to accomplish this change.”

HB 1007 further provides that there will be a rebuttable presumption that a statement appearing on a social media posting or other electronic communication attributed to someone testifying is the statement of that individual. The presumption may be rebutted by a credible denial under oath.

The measure will now return to the House for consideration of Senate amendments.


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