Iowans who’ve been the victims of stalking, domestic violence or sexual abuse may now submit an application online for a new legal address, so they can keep their new home address a secret.
The website went live Monday and Secretary of State Paul Pate says his office will start issuing I-D cards to victims on January 1st under the state’s new “Safe at Home” program.
“Perhaps with this kind of a program we can help give those people who have been a victim their lives back,” Pate says, “as survivors.”
The state-issued drivers licenses and ID cards for these victims will list a street address devised by the U.S. Postal Service, but former abusers won’t be able to use it to find their victims. Some addresses will be in the middle of a river, for example, but it will be the new legal address a victim may use for any activity that requires someone to give their physical address, like applying for jobs, enrolling in school or banking. Iowa is joining 33 other states that already have this kind of a program.
“We estimate around 150 applicants will sign up for the ‘Safe at Home’ program within the first six months and that number will grow to around 500 within the first two years,” Pate says. “This is based on what our sister states around Iowa have experienced.”
Kerri True-Funk is with the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault, one of the groups that’s offering to help victims sign up for this new program.
“Every Iowan deserves to be safe at home,” True-Funk says. “The program will help survivors of sexual assault by keeping their addresses confidential, not in public view where their perpetrators can easily find them.”
This is the website where victims may apply for a confidential legal address. Iowans may seek a confidential legal address if they have taken some kind of legal action against an abuser. That includes filing charges or offering testimony against an abuser in court.