The NJ Police Chief Magazine - Vol. 28, Number 4 - Page 12

The New Jersey Police Chief Magazine | December 2021
Division on Women ’ s Address Confidentiality Program : A Vital Resource for Stalking Victims / Survivors
January is Stalking Awareness Month . As you know , abusers use stalking to terrorize , threaten and exercise control over people they know , as well as people they don ’ t know .
Studies have shown :
· Stalking is common . About 1 in 6 women and 1 in 17 men have experienced stalking in their lifetimes .
· There is a large connection between stalking and intimate partner homicide . 76 % of women murdered by an intimate partner were also stalked , and 85 % of women who survived murder attempts were stalked .
· Intimate Partner Stalkers Are More Likely to Reoffend . I ntimate partner stalkers are also more likely to : have criminal records and abuse drugs and / or alcohol ; follow through with threats of violence ; and assault third parties .
Many victims of stalkers reach out to law enforcement for assistance . And , while criminal charges may be an option , another lesser known , but extremely valuable service available for stalking victims includes the Address Confidentiality Program ( ACP ). This program w as created by law in 1998 and is operated by the Division on Women at the New Jersey Department of Children and Families . In addition to stalking , victims of domestic violence , sexual assault , and reproductive health patients and providers are also eligible for this program . ACP works by safeguarding the physical addresses of certain victims of crime and providing them with a substitute address to use when interacting with public and some private agencies . This means participants can use their substitute address on a driver ’ s license , when filing for unemployment , registering to vote , enrolling in schools , obtaining a library card and filing a police report .
After meeting all eligibility requirements , applicants are officially enrolled and provided with an ACP card to use . The law states all public agencies must utilize the substitute address when creating a public record unless there is a bona fide statutory purpose for collecting a physical address . In this case , public agencies can only use the address for that one purpose and must safeguard the address at all times .
Abusers employ many strategies to locate their victims , but searching public records is one of the most common ones .
How You Can Help :
A . If you come across a stalking victim , among any other legal supports you may provide , please recommend the Address Confidentiality Program . It is a useful tool to help protect anyone who has concerns about being located . They do not need a restraining order to participate .
B . If you encounter an ACP participant in the course of your work , ask to see the ACP card . Use the substitute address for administrative purposes or on forms accessible to the public .
C . If you do require an ACP participant ’ s address , safeguard this address and redact where possible in official documents to protect the individual ’ s confidentiality and safety .
If you have questions or need more information , please call DCF . AskACP @ dcf . nj . gov . our ACP staff at 1-877-218-9133 or email
To learn more about the programs and services made available through DCF Division on Women visit https :// www . nj . gov / dcf / women /