Pennsylvania´s Address Confidentiality Program (ACP)
Pennsylvania's Address Confidentiality Program (ACP) is a program that provides a confidential substitute address for a victim to use. An applicant must be a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking or a person who lives in the same household as the victim. The local domestic violence program can help determine if a person is eligible, or if the program is right for them. Victims can also apply at sexual assault or victim services programs.
The ACP helps victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking hide a new home, work or school address from an abuser. The ACP is a limited tool for victim safety. It does not replace in-depth safety planning with a domestic violence advocate. It should only be considered when an abuser does not know where the victim lives. It is important to work with a domestic violence advocate to make a safety plan that will take varied lives and families into account.
How does the Address Confidentiality Program work?
The ACP is a free service that gives participants a substitute mailing address when a victim moves to a location unknown to the abuser. The victim uses this mailing address to send and receive mail so that the abuser does not discover the victim's street address. The program forwards first class mail from the substitute address to the victim's true address within five to seven days. Magazines, packages and junk mail cannot be forwarded to the substitute address.
Once accepted into the ACP, the participant receives information and an identification card. The card includes the participant's name and signature, the substitute address, and the participant's ACP identification number. This identification number must be used on all mail sent to or from the ACP for the participant. Participants should use the substitute address as an official mailing address.
State and local government agencies are required to accept the substitute address. This means that all court and government records must use the victim's substitute address as their primary address. Court and government agencies must accept the victim's substitute address for:
- drivers' licenses,
- library cards,
- traffic tickets,
- vehicle registrations,
- employment and school records,
- workers' compensation records, and
- court petitions.
The substitute address will not automatically appear on the victim's documents. Participants are responsible for telling each state and local government agency that they are enrolled in the ACP. Participants must ask the agency to change their address on all applicable documents and to send their documents to the substitute address.
Private businesses, like utilities including electricity and phone companies, can accept a victim's substitute mailing address but are not required to do so. Your local domestic violence program may be able to help you convince a private business to accept this substitute address.
How do I enroll in the Address Confidentiality Program?
To participate, a victim should complete an application in person at any local domestic violence, sexual assault or victim services program in Pennsylvania. Advocates can assist victims complete the paperwork and explain the victim's rights and responsibilities under the Program.
How Do I Change My Identity
Some victims of domestic violence may wish to change their name and their social security number in an attempt to create a whole new identity. A complete identity change is difficult to achieve and should be well thought out ahead of time. For more information about name or social security number changes talk to your local domestic violence advocate. The ACP does not change the victim's identity.
PCADV works to provide options and safety to families
- PCADV's member programs work in every county to provide domestic violence victims and families with emergency shelter, housing options and other services to help victims gain financial stability and independence.
- PCADV legal department attorneys provide technical assistance to advocates and attorneys helping domestic violence victims facing legal issues.
- PCADV offers training about working with domestic violence victims.
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Any attorney helping a domestic violence victim may contact the PCADV legal department at 888-235-3425 for information on law and legal procedures. (This is not a helpline for victims.)
The information provided on this website is intended for informational purposes only. The information provided under this topic is not legal advice, does not create an attorney-client relationship, and is not a substitute for contacting an experienced attorney. Read our full legal disclaimer.