LANSING, Mich. — Victims of domestic violence and sexual assault would be able to hide their physical address from offenders under legislation approved by the state Senate on Tuesday.
“The address confidentiality program would restore peace of mind to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault by helping to keep them safe,” said Senator Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, who sponsored two of the package’s seven bills. “Protecting crime survivors is not a partisan issue. These bills can proactively protect survivors and give their lives back to them.”
The program would enable victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault, stalking or human trafficking to obtain a confidential address for official documents and mail correspondence to help protect them from their past offenders.
“This program would be a preventative tool, as much as it will be a safeguard for those who have been harmed,” said Senator Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “This could prevent individuals from becoming victims by allowing them to apply to be program participants if they feel disclosing their address puts them at greater danger of harm.”
The program would also afford children the same address confidentiality if they are at risk of being threatened or physically harmed, or if they or their parents or guardians are victims of domestic violence, stalking, human trafficking, rape or sexual battery. A school would not be allowed to disclose the address of a pupil or a pupil’s parents or guardians if they are program participants.
A program participant’s location would also be made confidential in the state’s Qualified Voter File system and participants would be able to vote absentee instead of going to a polling location, which might reveal their physical address. They would also be exempt from jury duty.
Michigan would join 38 states with similar laws if the plan is enacted.
Senate Bills 655-658 and 954-956 now go to the state House of Representatives for consideration.