The program is designed for two purposes:
- To provide a first-class mail forwarding service at no charge to a participant.
- To provide a substitute address for use when interacting with state and local agencies, which will prevent abusers or potential abusers from using public records as a resource to find their victims.
Who is eligible for the program?
In order to be eligible a person must:
- Be a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking
- Have relocated within 30 days or plan to relocate to an address unknown to the perpetrator in the near future
- Not have created any government records with their new address
- Be a resident of West Virginia or about to become a resident of West Virginia
- Be at least 18 years old or a parent or guardian acting on behalf of a minor or incapacitated person
- Be willing to designate the Secretary of State as their agent to receive legal documents and first-class mail
- Be able to manage with a possible 5 day mail delay (mail first comes to the Address Confidentiality Program and is then forwarded).
How do you apply?
Participants do not apply directly to the Address Confidentiality Program. Application is made in person at a local domestic violence, sexual assault or victim service program located throughout the state by an approved application assistant. Enrollment of the program participant is good for four years as long as the participant abides by the requirements of the program.
The application process involves meeting with a victim service professional who can help the potential participant determine whether ACP should be a part of the their overall safety plan, explain the program services, explain the potential participant’s responsibilities and assist with the completion of the application materials.
How does the program work?
After an applicant becomes a program participant, they are issued an authorization card. That card has the designated post office box address that is provided by the Secretary of State’s Office. The address on the card becomes their legal mailing address. Their first-class mail will be forward, at no cost, from the Secretary of State’s Office within 5 business days. (Packages, magazines and third-class mail will not be forwarded.) Program participants need to use the authorization card anytime they are doing business with a state or local agency that requests their address for government transactions.
The ACP enables participants to use the substitute address to meet the address requirements for most state and local government agencies. Participants may use the ACP substitute address for:
- West Virginia driver's licenses or ID cards
- Applying for and receiving child support
- Enrolling their children in public school
Can participants register to vote?
Yes! ACP participants are encouraged to register to vote through this program. All participant voter registration information will be kept in a confidential database that only ACP staff can access.
Who must accept the designated address?
Any and all state and local government agencies and the courts of West Virginia must accept the ACP address as a program participant’s address. There are exemptions and exclusions, contact ACP for more information.