House Bill 2697 went into effect on September 1, 2019. A bill that you, our Army of Advocates, helped support and get passed! It added clarity to the criminal definition of identity theft in Texas to ensure that it covers coerced debt and financial abuse, which often occur in domestic violence situations. Coerced debts – debts taken out by an abuser through force, threat or fraud – now clearly falls under the definition of identity theft in Texas.
In response to HB 2697, Texas Women’s foundation community partner, Texas Appleseed created and recently released the Coerced Debt Toolkit for Survivors of Domestic Abuse as part of the Texas Coalition on Coerced Debt. Five educational guides are included and offer information for victims and advocates on Understanding coerced debt, How to protect yourself from future financial abuse, Discovering if you have coerced debt, How to dispute different kinds of coerced debt and block it from appearing on a credit report, and What to do if you are sued for a debt that isn’t yours.
We invite you to share the link to the toolkit, www.FinancialAbuseHelp.org, on your social medial networks, with your book clubs, Sunday school classes and more – because domestic violence impacts across all ages and income levels.
And thank you, @Texas Appleseed, for leading the charge in having HB 2697 passed!