Apr 262021
 April 26, 2021  Posted by  Laws, U.S.

April 22 – Attorney General Kwame Raoul applauded the Illinois Senate’s unanimous passage of his legislation to expand and strengthen Illinois’ Address Confidentiality Program (ACP) to include protections for survivors of human trafficking. The ACP is administered by the Attorney General’s office and currently provides survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking, and members of their households, with a substitute address to use as home, school and work addresses.

Senate Bill 593 was initiated by Raoul and sponsored by Sen. Suzy Glowiak Hilton to allow survivors of human trafficking to apply for the protections the ACP provides. The legislation also strengthens protections for all participants by preventing participants’ addresses and phone numbers from being disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act, ensuring participants can obtain a Real ID driver’s license using the program’s substituted address, and clarifying the process for participants to register to vote.

“The Address Confidentiality Program is an important tool that offers survivors security and peace of mind to allow them space to continue to heal without fear of their abusers knowing where they live,” Raoul said. “Recognizing how committed abusers can be to finding survivors, this legislation expands the program’s scope to better safeguard against this and protects survivors of human trafficking along with survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. I appreciate the Senate’s bipartisan support and look forward to the House considering this important measure.”

“Violent crime survivors undergo substantial emotional and mental trauma,” Glowiak Hilton said. “By adding human trafficking to the list of crimes protected by the ACP, we’re offering survivors some peace of mind that their sensitive personal information is safe and protected against abusers.”

Currently, survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking who fear for their safety are eligible to apply for the ACP. Additionally, parents or guardians can apply on behalf of minors and people with disabilities if there is good reason to believe that those individuals are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, and fear for their safety. Other members of the participant’s household should also participate in the program in order to best protect the address. An applicant is not required to report the violence or threat of violence to law enforcement in order to be eligible for the ACP.

Survivors can apply for the ACP through the Attorney General’s office to receive a substitute address that can be used to create or update public records for personal use. Additionally, the ACP functions as a mail-forwarding system for all first-class mail. Raoul cautions that, while the ACP is not a witness protection program that can assist with relocation or a change of identity, it can be a valuable addition to a comprehensive safety plan. Enrollment lasts for a period of four years, and participants can renew their enrollment at the end of the period. Participants are free to voluntarily withdraw from the ACP at any time.

Applying to participate in the ACP is free of charge, and the Attorney General’s office is prohibited from disclosing a participant’s address unless the office receives a request from law enforcement or a court order requiring disclosure to a specific individual.

Participating in the ACP alone will not adequately protect against violence. The Attorney General urges survivors to work with an advocate to develop a comprehensive safety plan. To locate an advocate, please contact the Illinois Domestic Violence hotline at (877) 863-6338 or visit https://icasa.org/crisis-centers to locate a Rape Crisis Center in your area.

For more information about the Address Confidentiality Program, please visit the Attorney General’s website, or call 1-844-916-0295 or 1-877-398-1130 (TTY).

Source: Illinois Attorney General’s Office

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