What is the Address Confidentiality Program (ACP)?
The ACP is a program designed to offer victims of domestic violence a way to prevent their abuser from locating them through public records. It is part of an overall safety plan.
What does the ACP do?
1) Provides a legal substitute address for ACP participants to use as their residential, work, or school address. All local and state government agencies are required to accept this address.
2) Receives the participant’s first class, certified, and registered mail and forwards it to the participant’s actual confidential address at no cost to the ACP participant.
3) Accepts process (legal notices) on behalf of the participants and forwards it to their confidential address.
Who is eligible for the ACP?
Victims of domestic violence who are in fear for their safety and have moved to an undisclosed location are eligible. A parent or legal guardian acting on behalf of a minor, or a legal guardian acting on behalf of an incapacitated person, may apply.
How do victims apply for the ACP?
All potential participants may apply for the program by completing an application and submitting it directly to the ACP at the address on the web-site (www.dos.ny.gov/acp) or they may apply with the help of an application assistant. A list of participating agencies is on the ACP web-site.
What is an Application Assistant?
The registered ACP Application Assistant is a person who provides counseling, referral or other services to victims of domestic violence. Application Assistants are typically victim advocates or counselors that work in a program dedicated to assisting victims of domestic violence. All Application Assistants receive required ACP training and go through a registration process. The Application Assistant provides information to the applicant, assists in determining program eligibility, and recommends victims to the Address Confidentiality Program.
Can other household members participate in the ACP?
Yes. Household members who reside with the primary applicant may be included in the program. This includes the victim’s minor children and other adults. An adult over the age of 18 years that is included on the primary application will need to authorize, agree and sign the application along with the primary applicant.
What kind of mail is forwarded?
All first class, registered, and certified mail addressed to the ACP participant’s substitute address will be forwarded to the confidential address at no cost to the participant. ACP will not forward packages, periodicals, and catalogs, unless clearly identifiable as pharmaceuticals (prescription drugs) or indicate they were sent by a government agency.
What happens after a person is accepted into the ACP?
Once accepted into the ACP, participants will receive a letter from the program along with their ACP Authorization Card. The participants may then begin using the substitute address.
How long are participant’s certified to be in the program?
Upon acceptance into the ACP, participants are certified for four (4) years. After the four year period, they may reapply. ACP will send a reminder notification to participants prior to the expiration period.
Can someone be cancelled from the ACP?
Yes. Participants may voluntarily withdraw from the program. Staff will assist in completing the necessary steps to be withdrawn from the program. ACP may also cancel a participant’s certification if: the participant’s mail is returned as “non-deliverable”; ACP is not notified of a change of address, phone number or name within the allowable time frame; or a participant knowingly provided false information on the application.
Who is required to accept the substitute address?
All State and local agencies must accept the ACP substitute address as the participant's actual residence address. The participant may also use the substitute address for all personal first-class mail. The fewer people that know where the victim actually lives, the more effective ACP will be.
Where is the substitute address?
The substitute address is a Post Office box located in Albany, New York and is only for the receipt of mail. The substitute address for program participants has no relation to their actual address.
Will my mail be delayed?
Mail received at the designated address will be forwarded on a same-day basis, via first-class mail, to the mailing address provided by the participant Monday through Friday (excluding holidays). Participants should expect a delay of a few days in receiving their mail.
Will my actual address be secure?
A program participant's records are maintained as confidential and cannot be released by the ACP manager unless directed by a court of law or requested by a law enforcement agency for a legitimate law enforcement purpose.
What happens if I move or change my name?
The ACP Manager must be notified within 10 days of a change in residential address or name. Failure to do so may result in cancellation from the program.
What do I do if someone refuses to use the substitute address?
Please ask the individual or organization to contact the ACP at (518) 474-7306 or toll free (855) 350-4595 for more information about the program. Participants are instructed not to provide their confidential physical address and at all times are encouraged to contact ACP if there are any problems or misunderstandings concerning the program.
How do participants register to vote?
Participants should contact the Board of Elections directly for assistance
in voting without disclosing their actual address.
NYS BOARD OF ELECTIONS
40 NORTH PEARL STREET, SUITE 5
ALBANY, NY 12207-2729
Does the ACP remove or delete existing public information?
No. The program is not able to delete information that already exists in public records.
Is the ACP like a witness protection program?
No. The program does not hide participants or help them “go underground”, change their identities, social security numbers, or location.
Can I give my confidential residence address out to anyone?
You will have to decide when and to whom you will give your confidential address. The fewer people who know your actual location, the more likely your information will remain confidential. It is advisable not to give your actual residence address to anyone unless it is absolutely necessary. If a residential address is required by a utility company, you may ask that they place a password on your account for safety purposes.