CONFIDENTIAL ADDRESS PROGRAM

Most victims of domestic violence are aware that they can file for a Temporary Protective Order and in that order they can check the box to keep their address confidential.  The weakness in keeping an address confidential is that an abuser can get an address any number of ways such as public records. business records, etc.  There are so many governmental and private entities that have our address, all an abuser has to do is get one of these entities to provide the address and a home address is no longer confidential.  It seems that the only option a victim of abuse has is to provide a false address.  That can open up a whole other can of worms.

There is an alternative.  The Nevada Secretary of State has a Confidential Address Program which is allows a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault to apply for a fictitious address.  A person applies through a certified agency, Safe Nest and Safe House are two such agencies in Clark County.  If a person is accepted into the Confidential Address Program the person uses an address provided by the Nevada Secretary of State when providing an address to state and local governmental entities including schools and private businesses.  That way the victim of domestic violence does not have to worry about a third party keeping their address confidential as they don’t have the physical address.  Mail is sent to the fictitious address and then forwarded to the confidential address.  Although a rented mail box may serve a similar purpose many places will not accept a Post Office Box and an abuser can always stake out the mail box.

I learned about this program reading a case from the Nevada Supreme Court which discussed the program in the context of a child custody dispute.  The issue was did the Confidential Address Program override a parent’s right to know where their child was living.  The court said no it didn’t.  It was apparent from the opinion that the Court was not happy about its decision but saw no alternative.

The take away is that there are steps a person can take to protect themselves from an abuser and the Confidential Address Program is one of them.

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