Address confidentiality program for assault survivors heads to governor’s desk

LANSING, Mich. — A legislative plan to create an address confidentiality program that would help protect victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and human trafficking from their attackers was finalized by the Senate on Friday.

Senate Bills 70-76 now go to the governor for signature.

Under the plan, victims would be able to obtain a confidential address for official documents and mail correspondence to help protect them from their past offenders.

“This plan presents a smart and simple way to protect and restore peace of mind to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault,” said Sen. Kim LaSata, R-Bainbridge Township, who sponsored Senate Bill 76, which would exempt participants from jury duty. “I appreciate the support of my colleagues and am hopeful that this is the year we can get this plan signed into law.”

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 address.

If the legislation is signed into law, Michigan will join with most other states, which have similar laws in place.