Senate legislation would protect victims of domestic violence, rape and human trafficking

LANSING, Mich. — Victims of domestic violence and sexual assault would be able to hide their physical addresses from their offenders under legislation being introduced by Sens. Margaret O’Brien, Tonya Schuitmaker and Rick Jones.

“It is time for the state to step up to help victims safely get a fresh start away from their offenders,” said O’Brien, R-Portage. “This Senate legislation would help protect victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault, stalking or human trafficking by keeping their locations hidden from their offenders. For many women and children, this is a matter of life and death.”

The Senate legislation would create an address confidentiality program in Michigan. The program would enable victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault, stalking or human trafficking to obtain a confidential address to protect themselves from their past offenders.

The confidential address would be used on official documentations as well as mailing addresses.

“Keeping victims safe is the number one priority in this legislation,” said Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. “These individuals have already been through the most difficult of times, and I certainly think these bills can provide both closure and a bit of assistance.”

Under the bills, if a child is at risk of being threatened or physically harmed or they or their parents are victims of domestic violence, stalking, human trafficking, rape or sexual battery, they too would be eligible to apply as a program participant and receive an identification number. A school would not be allowed to disclose the address of a pupil or a pupil’s parent if they are program participants.

“With this legislation, Michigan would join 37 other states in offering address confidentiality programs for victims of abuse or assault,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “There are cases of victims who have been forced to leave the state or even the country to escape their attackers. By providing a confidential address under this legislation, the state can decrease the risk of victims being threatened or harmed again by offenders.”