Column: Expanding protections for victimsOctober 28, 2020
By MARK MESSMER
To help victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking, the Office of the Indiana Attorney General (OAG) offers the Address Confidentiality Program (ACP). This free program allows victims to maintain a confidential home address.
When you sign up for ACP, your first class mail is sent to a secure substitute address and then forwarded by the OAG to your new home. Your substitute address is also used for most state and local government services, such as your driver's license and vehicle, voter and school registrations.
This program was created in the 1990s and, until recently, had not been updated.
Senate Enrolled Act 424, which my colleagues and I passed during the 2020 session, makes needed improvements to this program, allowing victims of harassment, human trafficking, intimidation and invasion of privacy to apply for ACP as well.
In addition, this legislation removes the requirement that a victim have a protective order in place in order to qualify for the ACP. While those in the program typically have a protective order, this can be a hurdle for those who don't know the identity of their abuser or if their accuser lives in another state.
In the United States, an average of 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner, equating to nearly 10 million times per year. Victims of physical abuse, and other crimes recognized by the ACP, often struggle to regain a sense of security. With more than 300 Hoosiers currently in the ACP program, it's important that we keep this service updated.
While the ACP is not a witness protection program or an absolute guarantee of safety, it is a great service, helping victims break away from their oppressors and attain a new start.
To learn more about the ACP program, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, feel free to contact my office directly with your questions and concerns by email at Senator.Messmer@iga.in.gov or by phone at 800-382-9467.
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