Safe at Home Program (January 2017 School Leader Update)
Survivors of assault and abuse often live in constant fear. Their days are filled with anxiety, knowing that their abuser or attacker might strike again. Sadly, this is a scenario many Iowans face every day. More than 3,000 convictions for domestic abuse, sexual assault and stalking transpired in 2015. Many of us know someone who is a victim of one of these heinous crimes.
The state of Iowa has a program that gives survivors the chance to start over and return to safety. Safe at Home (SAH) launched in January 2016 and is administered by the Iowa Secretary of State’s office. It is an address confidentiality program for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking, stalking, or violent crimes. SAH is open to Iowa residents and their minor children. Participants are assigned a substitute legal address that they can use in place of their actual, physical address. This is a Des Moines address, regardless of where the participant lives. The Safe at Home program then forwards mail to their actual address. The intent of the program is to prevent participants’ addresses from showing on public records.
Those enrolled in the program are able to engage in civic activities such as voting via absentee ballot, obtaining a driver’s license, and enrolling their children in school, while still ensuring their address remains private. The SAH program is most effective for participants who have recently relocated, as it is not possible to redact addresses that are already listed on public records.
If a school needs to verify that a participant resides in their district, the SAH office can confirm the district without providing the physical address. Send any requests on official letterhead and mail or e-mail them to the SAH office. The SAH office will call the requester back and confirm whether or not the participant lives in the district. To verify an individual’s enrollment in the Safe at Home program, call the Safe at Home administrator at 515.725.SAFE (7233). The address of the participant is confidential, but the participation of the individual in Safe at Home is not confidential.
As this program enters its second year, it’s vital to continue to spread the word about Safe at Home. If a school or district would benefit from a presentation or would like to receive posters, brochures or informational cards to distribute about SAH, contact SafeAtHome@Iowa.gov or 515-725-SAFE.
For more information or to fill out an application, visit the SAH website. Applicants are also encouraged to contact one of the following agencies to discuss their safety or to work with the SAH office: Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence or 515-244-8028, Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault or 515-244-7424, and Iowa Attorney General Crime Victim Services or 515-281-5044.
For quarterly e-mail updates, sign up for the newsletter at safeathome.iowa.gov.