Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence: New Program Announced by Secretary Bennett
PHOENIX – Domestic violence continues to be one of the most troubling problems facing society. Oftentimes, the perpetrator has a tendency to seek out the person who had the courage to press charges, to inflict more mental or physical harm.
To help protect victims from this cycle of abuse, Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett worked with the Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence and state legislators; Andy Tobin, Katie Hobbs, Jeff Dial, Michele Reagan, Linda Gray, Kimberly Yee, Steve Gallardo, Krysten Sinema, and John McComish to establish the Address Confidentiality Program (ACP), which was signed into law by Governor Brewer today.
The new program will allow, by December 2012, victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse or stalking to keep their residential addresses confidential by giving them a substitute address of the Secretary of State’s office.
“Domestic violence is a devastating crime, often causing irreparable harm, that no one should ever fall victim to,” Secretary of State Ken Bennett said. “We must do everything we can to not only prevent domestic violence in the first place, but also do all we can to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Under the new law, the Secretary of State’s office can receive first-class, certified or registered mail on behalf of program participants and forward it at no charge. The program is funded by a $50 assessment levied on persons convicted of these crimes.
“Domestic violence victims need to know that Arizona is serious about protecting them from further acts of violence or intimidation,” said Bennett. “Domestic violence has no place in our society and this program can provide an additional layer of protection from their abusers.”
“This bill was a collaborative effort from the start,” continued the Secretary. “Representative JD Mesnard spearheaded the legislation in the House and Senator Frank Antenori provided the leadership in the Senate. Combined with the passionate input of the Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence and consent of Governor Brewer, we’ve got a new state program that benefits a vulnerable group of people who really need our help.”