South Dakota bill that aims to help domestic violence survivors now in effect

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Amendments and additional sections added to South Dakota House Bill 1123 provides domestic violence survivors with what they don’t often have, control.

Often victims or survivors of abuse, neglect, even trafficking, lose their control to their abuser.

Working against violence suggests that abusers are able to maintain control of their victims by controlling the home and finances.

Kari Nordstrom, Attorney for Working Against Violence, said “The victim usually doesn’t have any access, or limited access, to the funds. So no matter their financial circumstances, quite often, our clients are bereft of any resources in order to leave.”

House Bill 1123, in short, says a tenant can vacate their lease early if they alert law enforcement and their landlord that they feel unsafe. The tenant will not have to pay a penalty for leaving either.

Linda Sholl, Executive Director of Programs with WAVI, said “Housing is not only important to them, but if they’re on or receiving services through HUD, that’s a long time to wait to get on that list. And if you get a mark, or are evicted, then it’s another three years to get back on this.”

Survivors will not have to worry about losing their benefits due to their abuser.

And there are thousands of missing and murdered Indigenous women, many in abusive relationships.

Red Ribbon Skirt Society, formed to advocate for these victims, agree with the bill but want to educate and provide more community support to victims of abuse.

Lily Mendoza — founder, red ribbon skirt society

Lily Mendoza, Founder of Red Ribbon Skirt Society, said “It takes the community being a good relative. Getting back to being a good human, a good relative and to think about what would you do, what would you do if that happened to you. What would you do to help your daughter if she was in that situation.”

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News