During 1999, more than 36,000 people obtained restraining orders in Massachusetts. There were 20 homicide victims as a result of domestic violence during 2000. The Address Confidentiality Program (ACP) was established by Chapter 409 of the Acts of 2000. Survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking often attempt to escape from actual or threatened violence by establishing new addresses. Too often the perpetrator of violence locates the new address. ACP provides a means by which victims may use a confidential address in order to stay safe from actual or threatened violence.
In order to be certified as a program participant, the applicant must show that disclosure of his or her address threatens the safety of the applicant or the applicant's children. ACP permits program participants to use a substitute mailing address when interacting with government agencies. The substitute address is used as the program participant's legal residence, as well as work and/or school address. Consequently, government records may be disclosed to the public without identifying the victim's new location.
ACP is an important and necessary program in the Commonwealth.
How does ACP work?
Essentially, ACP will serve as a confidential mail forwarding system for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking who have been accepted into the program. The Secretary of the Commonwealth assigns a substitute address to the program participant to be used as the participant's legal mailing address. ACP staff retrieve the program participant's mail and forward it to the participant's actual physical location.
How do I apply to become a program participant?
In order to apply to become a program participant, an applicant must complete the ACP application with an application assistant certified by the Secretary of the Commonwealth. Program participants must have recently relocated to a new address that is unknown to the perpetrator. The application is submitted by the application assistant to the Secretary for certification. ACP will notify the applicant whether they have been certified as a program participant.
How do I locate an application assistant to initiate the application process?
You may call ACP at 1-866-SAFE-ADD in order to locate an application assistant. You may also contact an agency or nonprofit program that provides counseling, referral, shelter or other specialized services to victims of domestic abuse, rape, sexual assault, or stalking.
How do I become an application assistant?
Application assistants must be an employee of a state or local agency, or of a nonprofit program that provides counseling, referral, shelter or other specialized service to victims of domestic abuse, rape, sexual assault, or stalking. In order to become an application assistant, an individual must attend the ACP training program and be certified by and registered with the Secretary.
For further information contact:
P.O. Box 9120
Chelsea, Massachusetts 02150-9120
FAQ Information Provided by the Massachusetts Secretary of State