With increased public access to personal information, there is a rising need for address confidentiality for victims of family violence, stalking, and sexual assault. Fearing for their safety, many victims do not obtain a driver's license or register to vote. Thirty-one states have authorized programs to protect the location of victims of family violence, sexual assault, and stalking through the establishment of a confidential mailing address or address confidentiality program.
Senate Bill 74 amends Article 56 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, by adding Subchapter C, Address Confidentiality Program for Victims of Family Violence, Sexual Assault, or Stalking. The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) is charged with creating and maintaining an address confidentiality program to assist these victims by by June 1, 2008.
Under the program, the Crime Victim Services Division will designate a substitute post office box address that a participant may use in place of the participant's actual residential, business, or school address. The Division will also act as an agent to receive service of process and mail on behalf of the participant and forward to the participant first class mail received by the OAG on behalf of the participant. This substitute address can be used as the victim's main address for driver's license, voter, and school registration, as well as for most court and government documents. Businesses such as banks, credit unions, credit card companies, and utility companies are not legally required to accept the ACP address.
To be eligible for the program an applicant must:
Additional eligibility criteria may be established by the OAG prior to certifying an applicant for participation in the program.
Please check the Crime Victim Services Division page of the OAG's Web site in the coming months for more information and details.