For victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking
The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) participates in the Address Confidentiality Program (ACP) administered by the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth. The program was established by Chapter 409 of the Acts of 2000 to require government agencies to maintain as confidential the address of a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking who has been accepted into the program.
Each year, thousands of persons obtain restraining orders from Massachusetts courts. In addition to that legal action, victims of domestic violence, sexual assaults and stalking often try to escape from actual or threatened violence by moving to a new address. All too often, however, the perpetrator of the violence has been able to locate that new address by accessing government records.
The Address Confidentiality Program provides a means by which victims who have recently relocated to a new residence may be able to use a confidential address to help ensure that the person or persons endangering them cannot easily obtain the new address. Once accepted into the ACP program, the Secretary of the Commonwealth will provide the victim with a substitute address to be used for transactions involving the RMV and other state government agencies. The substitute address will be used as the program participant's legal residence as well as work and/ or school address. Members of the ACP staff will forward the program participant's mail to the actual physical address. Whenever the RMV or other state agencies need to disclose public records, the ACP substitute address is the address that is required to be disclosed. In this way, the RMV and other government agencies can balance the public's right to access public records with a victim's need for an undisclosed safe haven from possible violence.
The RMV can only provide the services of the Address Confidentiality Program to persons who are actually accepted into that program. Only the ACP administrator, not the RMV, can make the determination that a person qualifies for a confidential address. The RMV will not assign a confidential address to a person claiming to be the victim of violence if that person is not a participant in the Address Confidentiality Program.
The Application Process for ACP To apply, please contact the ACP at 1-866-SAFE ADD (1-866-723-3233). You also may reach ACP by contacting an agency or nonprofit program that provides counseling, referral, shelter or other specialized services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.
- You must complete an application form with the help of an Application Assistant certified by the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
- You must have recently relocated to a new address that is unknown to the person or persons who may cause you violence.
- The completed application form must be submitted by the Application Assistant to the Secretary of the Commonwealth for certification.
- You will be notified by the ACP whether you have been certified as a program participant.
- The ACP will notify the Registry of Motor Vehicles if you are accepted into the program.
The RMV believes that the ACP is an important program in the fight to protect victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. The RMV will continue to work with the ACP to provide the required services to accepted program participants.
For further information regarding the address confidentiality program, please contact the Secretary of the Commonwealth:
P.O. Box 9120
Chelsea, Massachusetts 02150-9120