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For Immediate Release
March 27, 2002
Contact: Dan A. Gwadosky
207-626-8400

Address Confidentiality Legislation for
Domestic Violence Victims Becomes Law
Law will provide address confidentiality to victims who relocate

AUGUSTA--A bill establishing an Address Confidentiality Program for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking initiated by Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky and sponsored by Speaker of the House Michael V. Saxl has become law. "An Act to Protect Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking", will become effective 90 days after the Legislature adjourns.

"Victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, who have taken the extraordinary step of relocating in an attempt to escape their abusers, will no longer need to choose between keeping their addresses confidential and obtaining necessary government services," stated Secretary Gwadosky. "While this law may impact only a small number of citizens, the positive impact it has on those victims will be profound."

The law is designed to help victims who have relocated and are attempting to escape their abusers. The Address Confidentiality Program will provide program participants with a special designated mailing address to use when obtaining services from municipal and state agencies. First class mail sent to the special designated address would be forwarded by the Secretary of State's Office to the participants' actual mailing addresses.

"Victims of domestic violence and sexual assault are most at risk in their homes and at their place of work. This legislation will help keep survivors safe by safeguarding their location from perpetrators. The Secretary of State's efforts will help bring peace to many Maine citizens," said Speaker Saxl. "I am proud to have worked with the Secretary of State on this initiative."

In addition to Speaker Saxl (Portland), the bill was cosponsored by Senators Anne Rand (Cumberland) and Norman Ferguson, Jr. (Oxford), and Representatives George Bunker (Kossuth Township), Susan Dorr (Camden), Patricia Jacobs (Turner), David Madore (Augusta), Charles Mitchell (Vassalboro), Roger Sherman (Hodgdon) and Deborah Simpson (Auburn).

This Address Confidentiality Program will establish one set of procedures and one central location for use by all state and municipal agencies. Individuals wanting to participate in the program will complete an application and will be reviewed to ensure that the program will be appropriate for their particular situation. The Office of the Secretary of State will administer the program, reviewing applications, assigning the special designated address, and forwarding mail. State and municipal agencies will accept the special designated address and treat that address as it would the address of any citizen with whom the agency does business.

Similar programs have been established in a number of states including Washington, Nevada, Florida, New Jersey, California, Rhode Island, Illinois, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Indiana.