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A federal agency has affirmed a Maine law protecting credit records of domestic abuse survivors

A federal consumer protection agency has affirmed a Maine law designed to protect the credit records of domestic abuse survivors. Advocates say the law sets a national standard.

The law, which passed in 2019, has several provisions — including a requirement that prohibits any debt accrued due to financial exploitation from appearing on the credit reports of abuse survivors.

That provision was challenged by the consumer data industry. Earlier this year, the First Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Maine's law. And it was further bolstered this summer by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which issued a rule citing the law and concluding that states have broad authority to pass reporting legislation that protect consumers.

Supporters of Maine's law say it's now become a national model.

According to the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence, more than 80% of survivors in Maine say economic abuse is a barrier to leaving their partner. Economic abuse can take many forms, including coerced debt, in which a victim is forced to obtain loans and sign financial documents.