ALBANY – Victims of domestic violence, stalking, sexual offenses and human trafficking can protect themselves from their perpetrators by getting a new undisclosed address through a new online application for the Address Confidentiality Program (ACP).
This online application will facilitate a swift and secure enrollment into the program for individuals who previously could only apply for the program via mail or fax, according to a New York State Department of State press release.
HIDE PHYSICAL ADDRESS
The ACP is available to assist individuals who are trying to rebuild their lives after experiencing a violent situation that put them in harm’s way.
ACP is a free state program that allows victims to keep their physical address hidden from their perpetrators by using a substitute mailing address provided by the Department of State in lieu of their actual home, school or work address.
The program currently serves approximately 3,200 people.
“We're a member of the ACP, and we assist victims with becoming members of this program so that they can receive their mail at a confidential address,” Amber Brown-Rose, STOP Domestic Violence program director, said.
“The online application just makes it easier for victims in COVID times. It's much safer for them. It's a really great service for victims to be able to access important documentation that they might not otherwise have a safe way to access.”
The ACP helps victims by:
“In New York, we help protect our most vulnerable from violent situations that can endanger them and their families,” Secretary of State Rossana Rosado, who oversees this program, said in a release.
“The online application for the Address Confidentiality Program will make it faster and easier for thousands of New Yorkers in threatening situations to get protection from their perpetrators and help save lives.”
“Survivors of human trafficking should never have to live with the fear that their perpetrator may one day identify where they reside,” Mike Hein, Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance commissioner, said.
“The Address Confidentiality Program gives victims added confidence that they won’t put themselves at risk when providing their mailing address. This added layer of security will help more survivors step out of the shadow of fear cast by their traffickers and onto the path toward lasting stability.”
"SAFETY AND PEACE'
In 2018, there were 341,909 phone calls in its domestic violence and sexual assault hotlines, according to the NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV).
The National Conference on Domestic Violence indicates more than 20,000 daily phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide.
About 65 women died in the hands of an intimate partner, according to 2019 state data.
“New York State’s Address Confidentiality Program is an important tool for crime victims who are seeking a sense of safety and peace,” Elizabeth Cronin, NYS Office for Victim Services Director, said.
“I want to thank the Department of State for streamlining the application process and making this tool more accessible to victims, and the advocates helping them, as they work to secure safe housing. It is especially critical that we eliminate the requirement that these forms be printed and mailed or faxed, so applications for this program can be processed electronically during the global COVID-19 pandemic.”
“New York State’s Address Confidentiality Program is key to enabling survivors to break free from abusers, many of whom become most dangerous when survivors leave,” Kelli Owens, NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence executive director, said.
“The addition of online enrollment streamlines the process and assists survivors working to stay safe and rebuild their lives. The COVID-19 pandemic has created additional challenges for survivors seeking services, and this welcomed change removes a hurdle to access and helps domestic violence services in New York State become even more survivor-centered.”
More than 250 cases of human trafficking in New York through October was confirmed by the New York State Response to Human Trafficking Program, which provides case management services and is funded by the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.
Victims in confirmed human trafficking cases can now participate in ACP.
“We are proud to partner with our sister agencies to support protecting vulnerable victims from abuse,” Sheila J. Poole, NYS Office of Children and Family Services commissioner, said.
“Remaining in an abusive relationship or being subjected or exposed to abuse can have far-reaching effects for both the victim and any involved children. The ACP provides an additional assurance that those involved will be safe.”
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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RESOURCES