Senate approves confidentiality program for assault victims

LANSING, Mich. — Victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and human trafficking would be better protected from their attackers under a plan to create an address confidentiality program approved by the state Senate on Tuesday, said state Sen. Lana Theis.

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. Senate Bill 75, sponsored by Theis, would require the secretary of state to reissue a program participant’s official state ID card with his or her new “designated address.”

“While no law can undo a crime or take away someone’s pain, I am hopeful that the address confidentiality program will help restore peace of mind for assault survivors so they can hopefully live a more normal life,” said Theis, R-Brighton. “I thank my colleagues for their unanimous support and encourage my friends in the House of Representatives to pass these bills quickly.”

Other bills within the plan would:

  • Allow participants to use their program ID in the state’s Qualified Voter File;
  • Protect a participant’s real address from FOIA requests;
  • Allow participants to claim an exemption from jury duty while in the program; and
  • Require the secretary of state to reissue an operator’s or chauffer’s license or an enhanced driver’s license with one containing a designated address.

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.

Michigan would become the 38th state with such laws if the plan is enacted.

SBs 70-76 now advance to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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