Protection from Abuse and Violence

Maryland Program Provides Victims of Domestic Violence With a Confidential Address and Peace of Mind

By: Kate McDonough, Esquire

Between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2010, there were 38 homicides as a result of domestic violence in the State of Maryland*. Many of these lives could have been saved if the victim of domestic violence was able to leave the abusive home and establish a new residence without the abuser knowing the location of that new residence.

There are numerous reasons why victims fear leaving an abusive home, one of which is the fear that the abuser can find out the victim’s new address through public records, by contacting third parties to inquire where the victim’s mail is being forwarded, or by other means.

The Maryland legislature established the “Safe at Home” Address Confidentiality Program to provide victims of domestic violence, who are planning to leave an abusive home or have recently relocated, with a confidential mail-forwarding service in an effort to keep their perpetrators from finding them.

“Safe at Home” provides a substitute address for victims and a free confidential mail-forwarding service for first-class mail and legal papers. “Safe at Home” hinders an abuser’s ability to access public information which could identify the new location of a victim. The “Safe at Home” address may be used by the participant to receive first-class mail, registered mail, certified mail, and legal papers including those sent by Federal, State or local government, the State Board of Elections, schools, etc.

Domestic violence and abuse are very sensitive and personal issues; they also require immediate action to protect yourself, your children, and loved ones from further harm, both physical and emotional. If you would like to speak to an attorney regarding a peace or protective order, please feel free to contact me, Kate McDonough, or any of our other attorneys. We can be reached at 301-563-6685, or through our contact form to answer your questions and discuss your situation.

If you are the victim of domestic violence and it is either after 5:30 p.m. on weeknights, the weekend, or a holiday, please contact the District Court Commissioners for assistance with obtaining an Interim Protective or Peace Order for protection from domestic violence or abuse. Then, contact us on the first business day after obtaining your Interim Protective or Peace Order for further assistance.

For more information on the “Safe at Home” program or to apply, please visit the program website: www.sos.state.md.us/ACP/About.aspx or call (800) 633-9657, extension 3875. If you need additional assistance, such as shelter, emergency financial support or counseling, please contact any of the following domestic violence programs and ask to speak to a victim services professional:

Montgomery County Abused Persons Program
1301 Piccard Drive
Rockville MD 20850
(240) 777-4195 – Weekdays
(240) 777-4673 – 24 hours

Office of Victim Services
Maryland Department of Human Resources
311 West Saratoga Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
(800) 332-6347

Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence
6911 Laurel Bowie Road, Suite 309
Bowie, MD 20715
(800) MD-HELPS

Adelante Familia (se habla español)
St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore
2305 N. Charles Street, Suite 300
Baltimore, Maryland 21218
410-662-0500
410-732-2176

*Source: Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence

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