Illinois domestic violence, sexual assault survivors can be in Illinois Address Confidentiality Program
CHICAGO — This week, the Illinois Attorney General announced that survivors of sexual assault, stalking and domestic violence can participate in the Illinois Address Confidentiality Program (ACP) starting Jan. 1.
In a press release, the attorney general’s office said that survivors can apply for the ACP through the office in order to receive a substitute address that can be used to create or update public records or personal use. Additionally, the ACP functions as a mail-forwarding system for all first-class mail. The office said that the program is not a witness protection program, it can be part of a safety plan.
“The Address Confidentiality Program is an important added layer of protection and peace of mind for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking,” Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul said. “I am committed to ensuring that survivors have access to the resources and support needed to aid their recoveries, and I encourage survivors to participate in this program that can help protect them from the individuals who perpetrated crimes against them.”
“A woman had been divorced for years but kept her address private, not wanting her ex-husband to find her. One day out of the blue she received a letter from him, just letting her know that he had found her and she couldn’t hide from him,” said Vickie Smith, executive director of Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “The Address Confidentiality Program is critical for protection from abusers who refuse to let go of someone with whom they once had an intimate relationship.”
Participants in the ACP will receive a substitute address they can use on their driver’s license or state-issued identification card. All state and local government agencies are required to accept the substitute address in place of the participant’s home, work or school address, but they are not required to change existing public records. The substitute address functions like any new address in that the participant’s mail will be sent to the substitute address, and then forwarded to the participant’s actual address. The ACP forwards all first-class mail, including bills and other personal mail, and packages sent through the U.S. Postal Service. The ACP will not forward magazines and junk mail or packages delivered by a shipping service, such as the UPS, FedEx, or Amazon.
Applying to participate in the ACP is free of charge, and the Attorney General’s office is prohibited from disclosing a participant’s address unless the office receives a request from law enforcement or a court order requiring disclosure to a specific individual.