COLUMBUS – While increased rates of domestic violence continue to be a growing concern, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose is committed to protecting those seeking safety. Safe at Home, Ohio's address confidentiality program, hides any address on government documents and websites for people who have experienced domestic violence, stalking, human trafficking, rape, or sexual battery. Interested survivors should visit OhioSoS.gov/SafeAtHome or call (614) 995-2255 to find an Application Assistant.
Secretary LaRose issued the following statement upon the unanimous passage of HB 429, legislation that will expand the Safe at Home address confidentiality program. HB 429 was introduced by State Representatives Jeff LaRe (R-Violet Twp.) and Cindy Abrams (R-Harrison.)
“Our Safe at Home program currently helps more than 1,000 Ohio survivors stay safe. With these improvements Safe at Home will be even stronger to serve them as they rebuild their lives,” said LaRose. “Ohio has taken the right step forward in offering this program and now we must continue to make sure it works effectively and as promised. We can’t go halfway on something as important as this.”
BACKGROUND ON HB 429:
The Safe at Home program is administered by the Secretary of State’s office and allows victims the opportunity to ensure publicly available government databases do not allow a perpetrator to find them.
HB 429 expands the Safe at Home program in the following ways:
- Permitting the Secretary of State’s Office to communicate on behalf of participants with their authorization to the United States Postal Service, a judge or magistrate, the BMV, a school administrator, public assistance administrators, and food pantry administrators to better facilitate services for participants. This extra protection of a victim’s government interactions will increase their confidence in seeking assistance when needed -- knowing their home address is safe.
- Ensuring the court is notified when a program participant is engaged in a child custody case. If a party in a case requests a confidential address to be released, convincing evidence will need to be shown to the court why the release is necessary to proceed and would not put the participant or children in danger.
- Authorizing a real property confidentiality notice for Safe at Home participants to shield their confidential information as they file with a county recorder and relevant public offices. This will give survivors confidence to improve their living situation without fear of being found by their abuser. Additionally, they will be able to assure the confidentiality of their new address if their old one has been compromised.