Westworld actress Evan Rachel Wood is working to make sure victims of domestic abuse never find themselves without help or counsel. California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Phoenix Act into law on Monday, a bill Wood worked on alongside a team of survivors and lawmakers.
The law will extend the statute of limitations on domestic violence felonies from three to five years. It will also require police officers to participate in more training as it relates to domestic abuse and partner violence.
“My goal in doing this was to make sure that what happened to me couldn’t happen to anybody else, if they were in my situation. And to start a dialogue that we so desperately need, because it’s a global epidemic, and it affects men and women and children,” the 32-year-old said, People reports. “Bad things can happen to you, but you can rise out of the ashes. That is exactly why I named it the Phoenix Act. I do believe that you can come back from tragedy, sometimes even stronger than you were before.”
Wood is a vocal survivor of domestic abuse, having suffered at the hands of an abusive partner when she was 18 years old. She only recently began to talk about her situation when she discovered that her abuser had gone after others.
The actress decided to press charges against her abuser, but a lawyer told her that the statute of limitations on her case ran out so there was nothing she could do. “I said, ‘That doesn’t sound right. Something’s wrong, what are my options?’ Wood said, according to People. “They said, ‘Well, you can try to change the law.’”
The bill was signed into law during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.