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For Immediate Release
February 5, 2002
Contact: Dan A. Gwadosky
207-626-8400

Secretary Gwadosky to Testify in Support of Legislation
to Assist Domestic Violence Victims
Bill would provide address confidentiality to victims who relocate

AUGUSTA--Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky will testify today at 1:00 p.m. before the Maine Legislature's Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary in support of L.D. 2019 "An Act to Protect Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking", legislation that would establish an Address Confidentiality Program for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.

The legislation is designed to help victims who have relocated and are attempting to escape their abusers. The Address Confidentiality Program would 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 address.

"The goal of this program is to assist those victims of abuse who have relocated their home and work and to protect them from their abusers," stated Secretary Gwadosky. "This program may only affect a small number of Maine citizens, however, the affect on those who do participate will be profound," concluded Secretary Gwadosky.

The bill initiated by the Department of the Secretary of State is sponsored by Speaker of the House Michael Saxl (Portland), and is 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 would establish one set of procedures and one central location for use by all state and municipal agencies. The Secretary of State's Office would administer the program and forward all first class mail received at the special designated address to the individual's actual mailing address. State and municipal agencies would accept the special designated address and treat that address as it would the address of any citizen with whom the agency does business.

"As the official record keeper of many official state documents and activities, the Address Confidentiality Program is a natural extension of our current duties and would be a valuable service to those who choose to participate in it," said Secretary Gwadosky.

Individuals wanting to participate in the program would have to complete an application and would be reviewed to ensure that the program would be appropriate for their particular situation.

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.