Senate’s address confidentiality program for assault victims advances

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday approved legislation introduced last fall to help victims of domestic violence and sexual assault to hide their physical address from offenders, said Sens. Margaret O’Brien and Rick Jones.

The address confidentiality 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 protect themselves from their past offenders.

“This legislation will save lives by adding a layer of protection for survivors of these horrific crimes,” said O’Brien, R-Portage, who sponsored two bills in the seven-bill plan. “It only makes sense that Michigan join with 37 other states in empowering survivors with the ability to conceal their addresses from their offenders as they seek to heal from the pain and anxiety of the past.”

A program participant’s unique identifier would also be used in the state’s Qualified Voter File system, so 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.

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.

“Creating the address confidentiality program will help protect those at risk of being found by an assailant,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “With this program we are helping those who have survived domestic and sexual violence, stalking, and human trafficking, and those who are afraid of being harmed by someone, to go about their ordinary day knowing that where they live is hidden.”

Senate Bills 655-658 and 954-956 now advance to the full Senate for consideration.


Senator Margaret O’Brien Receives Caring Across Generations’ Care Champion Award

LANSING, Mich. — State Senator Margaret O’Brien received the Caring Across Generations’ Care Champion Award on Thursday for her advocacy and legislative work in support of seniors and the elderly. State Representative Jon Hoadley, D-Kalamazoo, also received an award.

Caring Across Generations is a nonprofit organization focused on issues of long-term care for seniors and people with disabilities. It honors legislators from across the country for being strong advocates and champions of care.

The awards presentation was part of the group’s Long-Term Care Study Bill Lobby Day at the Capitol.


Photo caption: Senator Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, (second from left) and state Representative Jon Hoadley, D-Kalamazoo, (second from right) pose for a photo with representatives from Caring Across Generations. The legislators were given the organization’s Care Champion Award for advocacy and legislative work in support of seniors.

Senator Margaret O’Brien Given Child Abuse and Neglect Council’s 2018 Child Advocacy Award


LANSING, Mich. — State Senator Margaret O’Brien was recognized on Friday, April 13 by Kalamazoo’s Child Abuse and Neglect Council for her work over the past eight years to protect children.

“It is an honor to have been recognized by this prestigious organization,” said O’Brien, R-Portage. “The event was especially meaningful as I previously served on the council’s board when I was a social worker. I value the work of our local staff, board members and volunteers.”

Other award recipients included Dr. Sarah Brown, Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Detective Kristin Cole, Western Michigan University Deputy Police Chief Carol Dedow and Western Michigan University’s Omega Delta Phi Colony.

“Together,” O’Brien said, “we can protect children.”


Photo caption 1: Senator Margaret O’Brien, R-Kalamazoo, (right) receives the Child Abuse and Neglect Council’s 2018 Child Advocacy Award from a representative of the council on Friday, April 13 in Kalamazoo.

Photo caption 2: Senator Margaret O’Brien, R-Kalamazoo, (front row, third from right) poses with representatives from the Child Abuse and Neglect Council and fellow Child Advocacy Award recipients on Friday, April 13 in Kalamazoo.