Senator Williams Testifies To Establish Address Confidentiality Program To Keep Crime Victims Safe
Senate Bill 83 would conceal address to protect rights of victims
 
 
Senator Williams testifies before the Senate State and Local Government Committee to protect the rights of crime victims.

Columbus –Today, Senator Sandra R. Williams (D-Cleveland) testified before the Ohio Senate State and Local Government Committee on her legislation that would establish the Ohio Address Confidentiality Program (ACP) to conceal the addresses of victims of stalking, sexual assault, and other violent crimes. Senate Bill 83 would allow Ohioans who fear their safety is threatened to use a placeholder mailing address and would prohibit the disclosure of a participant’s address in the public record.
 
“This program will be a critical component of safety planning for victims who fear further violence or even lethal retaliation from their offenders,” stated Senator Williams during her testimony. “It will also allow victims to continue to engage in the full rights and responsibilities of citizenship.”
 
The state of Washington was the first to establish an ACP in 1991 in an effort to stop offenders from using public data such as voter or drivers’ license registries, to find a victim’s address. Since victims cannot falsify their address on public documents without facing criminal penalties—even to protect themselves—ACP laws bridge the gap by allowing victims to use an alternative ACP address when submitting information to public agencies. To date, 37 states have established Address Confidentiality Programs.
 
Under the proposal, the Office of the Secretary of State will be responsible for establishing and maintaining the Address Confidentiality Program. Ohioans who enroll as participants must be able to attest to threats to their safety or that of their children.  
 
Additional qualifications include:

  • Those who have protection orders for menacing by stalking or domestic violence;
  • Those who are victims of assault, sexual assault and/or battery, domestic violence;
  • Other crimes that may apply. 

 
Once an applicant qualifies for the program, the Secretary of State’s office will assign a placeholder address which must be accepted by governmental entities, employers, and the United States Postal Service.  The Secretary of State’s office will also be charged with determining the process in which the participant’s mail is collected and forwarded to the confidential address.
 
“Ultimately, the passage of Senate Bill 83 will make Ohio the 38th state to pass such a program and would provide a significant step toward freedom and safety for victims who are forced to escape from violence,” said Senator Williams. 

 
 
 
  
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