Privacy and Confidentiality

 

As a victim of domestic violence, keeping your information private and confidential could help you to stay safe. There are measures in place that can help you elude your abuser. If you have any questions, please call the domestic violence agency in your area.

How can I keep my address confidential?

As part of the State of New Jersey Address Confidentiality Program, victims of domestic violence can apply to keep their addresses confidential from abusers.

Applying for ACP Participation

The New Jersey Address Confidentiality Program provides these services for residents of New Jersey. An applicant must be a victim of domestic violence who has relocated to an address unknown to the batterer. Applicants must be at least 18 minors old, an emancipated minor, a parent or guardian acting on behalf of a minor or a guardian acting on behalf of an anticipated person.

Local victim assistance programs will work with victims of domestic violence to complete applications and forward them to the Address Confidentiality Office. The Address Confidentiality Program will review the application and issue an ACP authorization card.

For more information about the program please contact the Address Confidentiality Program at 1-877-218-9133.

Program Summary

The New Jersey Address Confidentiality Program was established by the Address Confidentiality Act which became effective in January 1998. The goal of the Address Confidentiality Program is to assist victims of domestic violence who have relocated in their effort to keep batterers from finding them. The Address Confidentiality Program offers two service components, a substitute address service and a protected record service. These services will severely limit a batterer’s ability to access information which could identify the new location of a victim of domestic violence.

Substitute Address

Each Address Confidentiality Program participant is assigned a substitute address. The Address Confidentiality Program substitute address has no relation to the participant’s actual location. Clients who use the substitute address will have first class mail forwarded to their actual location. Program participants may use their substitute address when creating records with state and local government agencies. All program participants are issued an ACP authorization card which must be presented to an agency when requesting the use of a substitute address. State and local government agencies must accept the Address Confidentiality Program substitute address. In some cases an agency may be granted a substitute address use exemption. In order to be considered for an exemption, an agency must identify a statute or administrative rule which demonstrates the agency’s bona fide requirement and authority for the use of the actual address of an individual. In addition, the agency must provide an explanation of how the acceptance of a substitute address will prevent the agency from meeting its obligations under statute or administrative rule.

ACP Protected Records

The Address Confidentiality Program Protected Records program provides confidentiality for state and local government records. Address Confidentiality Program participants must specifically request ACP Protected Records services. ACP program participants who request this service will receive security records handling from state and local government agencies.
How can I register to vote without disclosing my address?

In New Jersey’s Prevention of Domestic Violence Act P.L. 1994, Chapter 155, Voter Registration Address Confidentiality, allows a victim of domestic violence who has obtained a permanent restraining order against a defendant pursuant to the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991.” N.J.S.A.2C:25-17 et seq., and who fears further violent acts by the defendant, to register to vote without disclosing the victim’s street address. Such a individual would, instead, leave the space for a street address on the permanent registration form blank and attach thereto a copy of the restraining order and a note which indicates that the person fears further violent acts by the defendant and which contains a mailing address, post office box or other contact point where mail can be received. Election officials would provide the person with a map of the municipality in which the person resides which shows the various voting districts. The person would indicate the voting district in which the person resides and shall be permitted to vote at the polling place for that district.

Can I get a new social security number?

SSA Assistance to Victims of Domestic Violence 

All people deserve to live with respect and dignity — free from fear. Yet, family violence plagues the lives of millions of Americans, according to estimates by the Department of Justice. This crime affects people in all walks of life.

The SSA (Social Security Administration) joins with other Federal agencies to provide greater assistance to victims of domestic violence. Some victims seeking to elude their abuser and reduce the risk of further violence choose to establish a new identity. As part of that effort, it may be helpful to obtain a new Social Security number (SSN).

Protective Actions Recommended By The Department Of Justice

A new SSN alone cannot protect you, particularly if your original SSN did not play a role in the domestic violence. There are other important steps you need to take for personal protection. In addition to changing your name, you should consider getting an unlisted telephone number, changing jobs, and moving to a new area/state. Victims of domestic violence also are encouraged to contact the national Domestic Violence Hotline toll-free number, 1-800-799-SAFE. People who are deaf or hard of hearing may call the toll-free “TTY” number, 1-800-787-3224 .

How To Apply For A New Social Security Number

Apply in person at any Social Security Office;

Take evidence of your age, identity, and U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status;

If you have changed your name as the Department of Justice recommends, take evidence identifying you by both your old and new names;

If new SSNs are being requested for children, take evidence showing you have custody; and

Take any evidence you may have documenting the harassment or abuse.

The Social Security Administration will assist you in obtaining any additional corroborating evidence, if needed. The best evidence comes from third parties, such as police, medical facilities or doctors and describes the nature and extent of the domestic violence. Other evidence might include court restraining orders, letters from shelters, letters from family members, friends, counselors, or others with knowledge of the domestic violence.

Protecting Your New SSN

SSA’s records are confidential. SSA does not furnish your SSN to third parties. Therefore, you should be careful about sharing your SSN unnecessarily with third parties who may not need it to provide you with a benefit or service.

Questions and Answers Regarding Domestic Violence Policy Change

Question 1: What will SSA do differently in processing requests for a new number?

Answer: Previously SSA required the individual to establish that the abuser had either misused the individual’s SSN or could be expected to misuse it to locate the individual. Only in cases of extremely severe abuse or endangerment of the persons life did SSA assume misuse. Now SSA will presume SSN misuse is possible in all abuse cases.

Question 2: Should a person change his/her name before contacting SSA for a new number?

Answer: Changing one’s name is one of the important steps a domestic violence victim needs to take for personal protection. Since SSA assigns an SSN based on the name shown on the identity document submitted with the application for a number, it is best that the applicant have a document showing his/her new name.

Visit the Social Security Administration for more information.

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