Address confidentiality for victims of domestic violence

Woman sitting
Do You Need Urgent Help?
If you are a victim of domestic violence and
need help now, call the
NYS Domestic and
Sexual Violence Hotline.
800-942-6906
800-942-6908, Español

ACP helps protect you by protecting your address

Disclosure of domestic violence victims' actual address can increase their risk of harm.
A substitute address is one tool that a victim can use in their overall plan to stay safe. Participation in the ACP program is limited to victims of domestic violence who fear for their own and possibly their children’s safety.

The Address Confidentiality Program (ACP) is a cost-free State program that allows victims of domestic violence to shield their actual address. Participants are assigned a substitute address which they will use for receipt of all first-class, registered and certified mail. The Secretary of State will also accept service of process on behalf of ACP participants. Participants' mail will then be re-packaged and mailed to their actual or mailing addresses. This program is one facet of an overall safety plan for victims of domestic violence. The ACP program is not a witness protection plan.

Using an ACP substitute address. Upon certification as an ACP participant, the participant will be provided with an ID card which will contain his/her name, unique ID number and the substitute address, which is a Post Office box in Albany, New York. The card will also indicate the expiration date for the program participant. ACP contact information is on the back of the ID card. The participant should use this substitute address in all dealings with state and local agencies, which are required by law to accept this address. Private companies such as utility providers, stores and other companies may not automatically accept the substitute address. Participants should show their ACP ID card to any of these entities when attempting to use the substitute address. 

Service of Process. Participants in the ACP have designated the Secretary of State to accept any legal notices (process) on their behalf. The Secretary of State’s office will not reveal any identifying information to the process server. We will only verify whether the person being served is an ACP participant. A copy of any process will be mailed to the participant’s actual or mailing address via certified mail. 

How mail is handled. Any first class, registered or certified mail sent to the substitute address will be re-packaged and forwarded to the participant’s actual or mailing address. This is done on a daily basis, Monday through Friday (except holidays). Participants should expect a five to seven day delay in receiving their mail. ACP will not forward packages, periodicals and catalogs, unless clearly identifiable as pharmaceuticals (prescription drugs) or they were sent by a government agency.