Safe At Home is new service offered for Abuse Victims

Survivors of sexual assault as well as trafficking, stalking, or violent crimes now have a new option of feeling safe while maintaining their residence with a new program offered in Iowa called the address confidentiality program (ACP). The Secretary of State Paul Pate says, “Currently,30 counties in the state of Iowa have utilized this new program that will forward the mail of a victim of abuse. We have begun coordinating with other states in order to fine-tune the program to make sure that the victim is getting the best use and we have begun evaluations and feedback forms from the survivors.” 37 states have the ACP. Iowa molded their program based on the programs that were being offered in Minnesota and Missouri.  In order to participate, victims would get an application through the Coalition Against Domestic Abuse or the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

Survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and trafficking, stalking, or violent crimes are eligible and encouraged to use this program. With the program, there are only three to four people that would know the actual location of the survivor, including SAH staff members and a member of IT.  The participants' first-class, legal, certified mail, prescriptions and government packages arrive at a substitute address and are then forwarded to the participants' confidential addresses. This would also prevent the participant’s address from appearing on any public records.  The participant would use this address provided to them for city, county and state offices and everyday mailings.

Where does Keokuk County stand in the line of violence when compared to the state of Iowa? In the year of 2016, Keokuk County had five domestic violence acts recorded. While larger counties have a larger number of incidents, Secretary Pate said that abuse is a statewide issue.

Pate said that one issue that could affect the amount of sexual assaults is the access to online meeting/dating. “People need to be very conscientious about how easily they are giving out personal information online.” He also said that people need to be more aware and sensitive of their surroundings and what is going on around you “People can see more of where you are with not only watching you but using location locating devices, making it easier to find an individual. Today’s friend may not be tomorrow’s friend.”

For more on this story pick up this week's The Keota Eagle 

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