ACP Offers Freedom For Abuse Victims in Texas



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I left my abuser…but he keeps coming after me… nobody was there to stop him…so I went back…

If I leave him, he’ll just come find me… so I might as well stay…”

 

I’m afraid to stay home alone… my ex might show up one day if he finds out where I am….”

 

Its been ten years and still I keep the shades closed on the windows, always wondering if he’s out there…”

 

Climbing out broken windows may be the only way to get to safety…

But now, the state of Texas wants to help keep victims of abuse safe once they do leave the abuse…by keeping residential addresses confidential & forwarding abuse victim’s mail to their safe location.

I don’t live in fear anymore…

 

I cleaned my house with the windows open for the first time in years …”

I’m free…. I finally feel like I’ve

gotten my life back…

 

Thank you ACP!

 

Under a new statewide program, Texans who are the victims of stalkers, sexual assault or family violence crimes can now make their home addresses confidential.

State Attorney General Gregg Abbott outlined the new program on Monday, which is designed to protect their privacy and help keep them safe.People who are eligible can sign up to have the Crime Victim Services Division of the Attorney General’s office designate a substitute address for them.

 

 

 

The division will receive the mail, process it, and then forward it to the participant’s actual address.

The substitute addresses can be used on voter and school registration cards, driver’s licenses and most government documents, including court records.

For more information about the Address Confidentiality Program or to learn more about the eligibility criteria, contact the program at ( 512 ) 936-1750 or ( 888 ) 832-2322.

You can also visit the agency’s web site at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.

This is a wonderful program I recommend for all 50 states – I was a member of this program in another state until I moved back to Texas where they did not have the program in place. Had this program been in place in Texas when my ex found, stalked and utlimately planned and assisted in abducting my son, I may have never lost my little boy.

 

 

 

 

Attorney General Abbott Announces Confidential Address Program For Crime Victims

Victims of family violence, stalking and sexual assault can register for anonymous address

AUSTIN – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today announced that family violence, stalking and sexual assault victims may be eligible to participate in a new, state-sponsored address confidentiality program. Eligible Texans can register for an anonymous address that will appear on voter and school registration cards, driver’s licenses, and most government documents, including court records.

The Attorney General’s Crime Victim Services Division will designate a substitute address for eligible victims; receive service of process and mail for the participants; and forward mail to participants’ actual address. During the 80th Legislative Session, Sen. Eddie Lucio authored legislation creating the Address Confidentiality Program (ACP), which authorizes the attorney general to provide this service to crime victims.

“Texas family violence, stalking and sexual assault victims can now obtain a confidential address that will help them protect their privacy and keep them secure,” Attorney General Abbott said. “We are grateful to the victim assistance organizations that partnered with us to ensure this program provides the meaningful protections intended by the Legislature.”

Applicants must meet with a local domestic violence shelter, sexual assault center, law enforcement, or prosecution staff member to discuss a safety plan and learn more about the enrollment process. To get contact information for local shelters, access the Texas Council on Family Violence Web site at http://www.tcfv.org or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-SAFE. To contact local sexual assault centers, access the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault Web site at http://www.taasa.org or the National Sexual Assault Hotline at (800) 656- HOPE. Meeting with a victim advocate is vital to this process and required by law.

Sheryl Cates, chief executive officer of the TCFV and the National Domestic Violence Hotline praised the new program: “The ACP is yet another valuable tool available to victims of family violence in protecting themselves from the perpetrators who abuse them. We are grateful to General Abbott and his staff for seeking input from the Texas Council on Family Violence and many other domestic violence service providers in the development of ACP guidelines.”

Annette Burrhus-Clay, executive director of TAASA, added: “Rape is a crime that removes control from a victim; this measure provides one additional avenue for restoring that control.

TAASA is proud to have worked with the Legislature, the Attorney General and other victim advocacy organizations to see this important program through to fruition and we’re hopeful that survivors of sexual violence, stalking and domestic violence will find this a helpful tool on their path to recovery.”

 
 

A BILL TO BE ENTITLED

  AN ACT
  relating to the creation of an address confidentiality program to
  assist victims of family violence, sexual assault, or stalking in
  maintaining confidential addresses.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Chapter 56, Code of Criminal Procedure, is
  amended by adding Subchapter C to read as follows:
  SUBCHAPTER C. ADDRESS CONFIDENTIALITY PROGRAM FOR VICTIMS OF
  FAMILY VIOLENCE, SEXUAL ASSAULT, OR STALKING
         Art. 56.81.  DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter:
               (1)  “Applicant” means a person who applies to
  participate in the program.
               (2)  “Family violence” has the meaning assigned by
  Section 71.004, Family Code.
               (3)  “Family violence shelter center” has the meaning
  assigned by Section 51.002, Human Resources Code.
               (4)  “Mail” means first class mail and any mail sent by
  a government agency. The term does not include a package,
  regardless of size or type of mailing.
               (5)  “Participant” means an applicant who is certified
  for participation in the program.
               (6)  “Program” means the address confidentiality
  program created under this subchapter.
         Art. 56.82.  ADDRESS CONFIDENTIALITY PROGRAM. (a)  The
  attorney general shall establish an address confidentiality
  program, as provided by this subchapter, to assist a victim of
  family violence or an offense under Section 22.011, 22.021, 25.02,
  or 42.072, Penal Code, in maintaining a confidential address.
         (b)  The attorney general shall:
               (1)  designate a substitute post office box address
  that a participant may use in place of the participant’s true
  residential, business, or school address;
               (2)  act as agent to receive service of process and mail
  on behalf of the participant; and
               (3)  forward to the participant mail received by the
  office of the attorney general on behalf of the participant.
         (c)  A summons, writ, notice, demand, or process may be
  served on the attorney general on behalf of the participant by
  delivery of two copies of the document to the office of the attorney
  general. The attorney general shall retain a copy of the summons,
  writ, notice, demand, or process and forward the original to the
  participant not later than the third day after the date of service
  on the attorney general.
         (d)  The attorney general shall make and retain a copy of the
  envelope in which certified mail is received on behalf of the
  participant.
         Art. 56.83.  ELIGIBILITY TO PARTICIPATE IN PROGRAM. (a)  To
  be eligible to participate in the program, an applicant must:
               (1)  meet with a victim’s assistance counselor from a
  state or local agency or other entity designated by the attorney
  general under Article 56.92 and receive orientation information
  about the program;
               (2)  file an application for participation with the
  attorney general or a state or local agency or other entity
  designated by the attorney general under Article 56.92;
               (3)  designate the attorney general as agent to receive
  service of process and mail on behalf of the applicant; and
               (4)  live at a residential address, or relocate to a
  residential address, that is unknown to the person who committed or
  is alleged to have committed the family violence or an offense under
  Section 22.011, 22.021, 25.02, or 42.072, Penal Code.
         (b)  An application under Subsection (a)(2) must contain:
               (1)  a signed, sworn statement by the applicant stating
  that the applicant fears for the safety of the applicant, the
  applicant’s child, or another person in the applicant’s household
  because of a threat of immediate or future harm caused by the person
  who committed or is alleged to have committed the family violence or
  an offense under Section 22.011, 22.021, 25.02, or 42.072, Penal
  Code;
               (2)  the applicant’s true residential address and, if
  applicable, the applicant’s business and school addresses; and
               (3)  a statement by the applicant of whether there is an
  existing court order or a pending court case for child support or
  child custody or visitation that involves the applicant and, if so,
  the name and address of:
                     (A)  the legal counsel of record; and
                     (B)  each parent involved in the court order or
  pending case.
         (c)  An application under Subsection (a)(2) must be
  completed by the applicant in person at the state or local agency or
  other entity with which the application is filed.  An applicant who
  knowingly or intentionally makes a false statement in an
  application under Subsection (a)(2) is subject to prosecution under
  Chapter 37, Penal Code.
         (d)  A state or local agency or other entity with which an
  application is filed under Subsection (a)(2) shall forward the
  application to the office of the attorney general.
         (e)  The attorney general by rule may establish additional
  eligibility requirements for participation in the program that are
  consistent with the purpose of the program as stated in Article
  56.82(a).  The attorney general may establish procedures for
  requiring an applicant, in appropriate circumstances, to submit
  with the application under Subsection (a)(2) independent
  documentary evidence of family violence or an offense under Section
  22.011, 22.021, 25.02, or 42.072, Penal Code, in the form of:
               (1)  an active or recently issued protective order;
               (2)  an incident report or other record maintained by a
  law enforcement agency or official;
               (3)  a statement of a physician or other health care
  provider regarding the applicant’s medical condition as a result of
  the family violence or offense; or
               (4)  a statement of a mental health professional, a
  member of the clergy, an attorney or other legal advocate, a trained
  staff member of a family violence center, or another professional
  who has assisted the applicant in addressing the effects of the
  family violence or offense.
         (f)  Any assistance or counseling provided by the attorney
  general or an employee or agent of the attorney general to an
  applicant does not constitute legal advice.
         Art. 56.84.  CERTIFICATION; EXPIRATION. (a)  The attorney
  general shall certify for participation in the program an applicant
  who satisfies the eligibility requirements under Article 56.83.
         (b)  A certification under this article expires on the third
  anniversary of the date of certification.
         Art. 56.85.  RENEWAL. To renew a certification under
  Article 56.84, a participant must satisfy the eligibility
  requirements under Article 56.83 as if the participant were
  originally applying for participation in the program.
         Art. 56.86.  INELIGIBILITY AND CANCELLATION. (a)  An
  applicant is ineligible for, and a participant may be excluded
  from, participation in the program if the applicant or participant
  knowingly makes a false statement on an application filed under
  Article 56.83(a)(2).
         (b)  A participant may be excluded from participation in the
  program if:
               (1)  mail forwarded to the participant by the attorney
  general is returned undeliverable on at least four occasions;
               (2)  the participant changes the participant’s true
  residential address as provided in the application filed under
  Article 56.83(a)(2) and does not notify the attorney general of the
  change at least 10 days before the date of the change; or
               (3)  the participant changes the participant’s name.
         Art. 56.87.  WITHDRAWAL. A participant may withdraw from
  the program by notifying the attorney general in writing of the
  withdrawal.
         Art. 56.88.  CONFIDENTIALITY; DESTRUCTION OF INFORMATION.
  (a)  Information relating to a participant:
               (1)  is confidential, except as provided by Article
  56.90; and
               (2)  may not be disclosed under Chapter 552, Government
  Code.
         (b)  Except as provided by Article 56.82(d), the attorney
  general may not make a copy of any mail received by the office of the
  attorney general on behalf of the participant.
         (c)  The attorney general shall destroy all information
  relating to a participant on the third anniversary of the date
  participation in the program ends.
         Art. 56.89.  ACCEPTANCE OF SUBSTITUTE ADDRESS; EXEMPTIONS.
  (a)  Except as provided by Subsection (b), a state or local agency
  must accept the substitute post office box address designated by
  the attorney general if the substitute address is presented to the
  agency by a participant in place of the participant’s true
  residential, business, or school address.
         (b)  The attorney general by rule may permit an agency to
  require a participant to provide the participant’s true
  residential, business, or school address, if necessary for the
  agency to perform a duty or function that is imposed by law or
  administrative requirement.
         Art. 56.90.  EXCEPTIONS. The attorney general:
               (1)  shall disclose a participant’s true residential,
  business, or school address if:
                     (A)  requested by:
                           (i)  a law enforcement agency; or
                           (ii)  the Department of State Health
  Services or a local health authority for the purpose of making a
  notification described by Article 21.31, Section 54.033, Family
  Code, or Section 81.051, Health and Safety Code; or
                     (B)  required by court order; and
               (2)  may disclose a participant’s true residential,
  business, or school address if:
                     (A)  the participant consents to the disclosure;
  and
                     (B)  the disclosure is necessary to administer the
  program.
         Art. 56.91.  LIABILITY. (a)  The attorney general or an
  agent or employee of the attorney general is immune from liability
  for any act or omission by the agent or employee in administering
  the program if the agent or employee was acting in good faith and in
  the course and scope of assigned responsibilities and duties.
         (b)  An agent or employee of the attorney general who does
  not act in good faith and in the course and scope of assigned
  responsibilities and duties in disclosing a participant’s true
  residential, business, or school address is subject to prosecution
  under Chapter 39, Penal Code.
         Art. 56.92.  PROGRAM ASSISTANCE. The attorney general
  shall:
               (1)  identify state and local agencies and other
  entities, whether for-profit or nonprofit, that provide counseling
  and shelter services to victims of family violence; and
               (2)  require the identified agencies to provide access
  to the program, including making program information and
  application materials available and providing assistance in
  completing program applications.
         Art. 56.93.  RULES. The attorney general shall adopt rules
  to administer the program.
         SECTION 2.  Article 56.54, Code of Criminal Procedure, is
  amended by amending Subsection (c) and adding Subsection (l) to
  read as follows:
         (c)  Except as provided by Subsections (h), [and] (i), and
  (l), the compensation to victims of crime auxiliary fund may be used
  by the attorney general only for the payment of compensation to
  claimants or victims under this subchapter.
         (l)  The attorney general may use the compensation to victims
  of crime auxiliary fund to cover costs incurred by the attorney
  general in administering the address confidentiality program
  established under Subchapter C.
         SECTION 3.  Section 18.005(a), Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         (a)  Each original and supplemental list of registered
  voters must:
               (1)  contain the voter’s name, residence address or
  substitute post office box address, if required by Section 18.0051,
  date of birth, and registration number as provided by the statewide
  computerized voter registration list;
               (2)  be arranged alphabetically by voter name; and
               (3)  contain the notation required by Section 15.111[;
  and
               [(4)  until Section 13.122(d) expires, identify each
  voter registered by mail for the first time who failed to provide a
  copy of a document described by Section 63.0101 establishing the
  voter’s identity at the time of registration].
         SECTION 4.  Subchapter A, Chapter 18, Election Code, is
  amended by adding Section 18.0051 to read as follows:
         Sec. 18.0051.  CONTENTS OF LIST: SUBSTITUTE ADDRESS. An
  original or supplemental list of registered voters must contain a
  voter’s substitute post office box address designated by the
  attorney general under Article 56.82(b), Code of Criminal
  Procedure, for use by the voter in place of the voter’s true
  residential, business, or school address if the voter is eligible
  for early voting by mail under Section 82.007 and has submitted an
  early voting ballot application as required by Section 84.0021.
         SECTION 5.  Chapter 82, Election Code, is amended by adding
  Section 82.007 to read as follows:
         Sec. 82.007.  PARTICIPATION IN ADDRESS CONFIDENTIALITY
  PROGRAM. A qualified voter is eligible for early voting by mail if,
  at the time the voter’s early voting ballot application is
  submitted, the voter is certified for participation in the address
  confidentiality program administered by the attorney general under
  Chapter 56, Code of Criminal Procedure.
         SECTION 6.  Subchapter A, Chapter 84, Election Code, is
  amended by adding Section 84.0021 to read as follows:
         Sec. 84.0021.  CONTENTS OF APPLICATION FOR PARTICIPANT IN
  ADDRESS CONFIDENTIALITY PROGRAM; CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION.
  (a)  An early voting ballot application submitted by a qualified
  voter who is eligible for early voting by mail under Section 82.007
  must include:
               (1)  the applicant’s name and address at which the
  applicant is registered to vote;
               (2)  the substitute post office box address designated
  by the attorney general under Article 56.82(b), Code of Criminal
  Procedure, for use by the voter in place of the voter’s true
  residential, business, or school address; and
               (3)  an indication of each election for which the
  applicant is applying for a ballot.
         (b)  The information contained in an application under this
  section relating to the address at which the applicant is
  registered to vote is confidential, except that the information
  must be disclosed if:
               (1)  requested by a law enforcement agency; or
               (2)  required by court order.
         SECTION 7.  Chapter 221, Election Code, is amended by adding
  Section 221.018 to read as follows:
         Sec. 221.018.  EXAMINATION OF CERTAIN CONFIDENTIAL
  INFORMATION. (a)  Notwithstanding Section 84.0021(b), the
  tribunal hearing an election contest may examine the information
  contained in an application under Section 84.0021 relating to the
  address at which the applicant is registered to vote.
         (b)  Information may be examined under this section only for
  the purpose of hearing an election contest.
         SECTION 8.  The attorney general shall establish the address
  confidentiality program and adopt rules to administer the program
  as required by Subchapter C, Chapter 56, Code of Criminal
  Procedure, as added by this Act, not later than June 1, 2008.
         SECTION 9.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
  a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
  provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.  If this
  Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
 

Act takes effect September 1, 2007.

 

For more information about the Address Confidentiality Program or to learn more about the eligibility criteria, contact the program at (512) 936-1750 or (888) 832-2322, or visit the agency’s Web site at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.

STATES WHICH HAVE ADDRESS CONFIDENTIALITY PROGRAMS IMPLEMENTED FOR DOMESTIC ABUSE VICTIMS

State (year of implementation) Statute
Arkansas (2005) Ark. Stat. Ann. 27-16-810
California (1998) Cal. Govt. Code §6206
Connecticut (2004)
Florida (1998) F.S.A. §741.403
Illinois (1999) (no funding) 750 ILCS 61/
Indiana (2001) IC §5-26.5-2
Maine (2002) 5 M.S.R.A. §90-B
Massachusetts (2001) M.G.L.A. 9A §2
Nebraska (2003) Neb. Rev. Stat. §42-1201 through 42-1210
Nevada (1997) N.R.S. §217.462
New Hampshire (2001) N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §7:43
New Jersey (1998) N.J. Stat. Ann. §47:4-4
North Carolina (2002) N.C. Gen. Stat. §15C-1
Oklahoma (2002) 22 Okla. Stat. Ann. §60.14
Oregon (2006) 2005 Or. Laws, Chap. 821 (SB 850)
Pennsylvania (2005) 2004 Pa. Laws, Act 188
Rhode Island (1999) R.I. Gen Laws §17-28-3
Vermont (2000) 15 VSA §1152
Washington (1991) RCW §40.24.030


 

 

 

 

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One response to “ACP Offers Freedom For Abuse Victims in Texas

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