Safe at Home is an address confidentiality program designed for victims of domestic violence, stalking, human trafficking, rape, or sexual battery. In short, the program assigns a substitute address for participants. The purpose of Safe at Home is to shield a victim’s true residential, school or work address from public records. This can help put a victim’s mind at ease and restore the feeling of safety and security in their own home.
So how does it work? First, all participants must complete an application. Certified application assistants (often, these are advocates) are listed at www.SafeAtHomeOhio.com. Once the application is completed, it can be returned to the Safe At Home office address. Applicants will then be contacted by Safe At Home staff. Upon an approved application, applicants will receive a participant packet and a card in the mail, which will include the new substitute P.O. Box address. Participation in this program lasts four years.
The most notable benefit of the program is Mail Forwarding. Safe at Home will forward all qualifying mail to participants every day that the Secretary of State’s Office is open. The Ohio Secretary of State Office is open Monday through Friday, and closed on national holidays.
Another benefit of Safe at Home is that it provides participants (who are eligible to vote) the option to vote absentee without his or her residential address being compromised. Participants can register to vote without their registration records appearing in public registration lists.
Because Safe at Home’s goal is to keep victim’s identities safe and secure, we want to let you know about a separate program through the United States Postal Service called Informed Delivery by USPS. Informed Delivery is free, and allows residents to digitally preview gray scale images of letter-sized mail and track packages. While this can be a helpful service for many, we know that Informed Delivery could possibly be used by an abuser to gain or maintain power and control over a victim. Through this service, someone who is not living at the residence could register as the victim and still have access to digital images of incoming mail.
Safe at Home is designed to be part of an overall safety plan. We encourage victims to develop a personalized safety plan with an advocate. Local advocacy options include CHOICES, for victims of domestic violence, and The Center for Family Safety and Healing, for victims of domestic violence or family violence. To speak with an advocate 24/7, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.
How to Apply
Search for an application assistant (certified by the Secretary of State’s Office) at www.SafeAtHomeOhio.com, or by calling 614-995-2255. Completed applications can be mailed to the Safe at Home Office:
Ohio Secretary of State
PO Box 16395
Columbus, OH 43216
- Safe At Home Brochure (Ohio Secretary of State)
- Informed Delivery by USPS
- The Center for Family Safety and Healing Adult Services (advocacy and counseling)
- National Center for Victims of Crime