The Pennsylvania Address Confidentiality Program (ACP) is administered by the Office of Victim Advocate (OVA). ACP was created in 2004 and began accepting participants in May 2005. ACP provides victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking with a substitute address.
ACP helps victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking keep their new home address safe from their perpetrator after they have left an abusive or dangerous situation.
The program has two basic parts. First, the ACP provides a substitute address for victims who have moved to a new location unknown to their perpetrator. The second part of the program provides participants with a free first-class confidential mail forwarding service.
The program is not a witness protection or a relocation program, so participants in ACP are encouraged to use the program as part of a larger overall safety program.
How does ACP work?
ACP provides eligible victims with an alternate mailing address to keep their actual home address out of public records where their perpetrator may find their location.
This address may be used as their legal address for court and government records, including drivers’ licenses, non-photo identification cards, vehicle registration, school records, voter registration, marriage licenses, and court petitions.
After approval and enrollment in the program, participants are given an authorization card that includes the person’s name, signature, substitute address and an individual participant number.
The substitute address can be used as the participant’s legal address. The program forwards all first-class, registered and certified mail to the participant.
ACP is available to those who are or have been victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking and have had to move or are planning to move to a new location for safety reasons. Anyone living in the same household as the victim (for example, children, parents, or siblings, or partners) may also be eligible to participate.
ACP may be used as part of an overall safety plan if you are victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking and are planning to or have recently moved to a location unknown to the perpetrator. The ACP works to keep your address out of the "public record," making it difficult for the perpetrator to find your physical address.
Is ACP right for me?
Enrollment in ACP is one small piece of an overall safety plan. Ask yourself these questions to help you determine if you should enroll in the program:
1. Are you a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault and/or stalking and fear for your safety?
2. Have you recently moved or are you about to move to an address unknown to the person who is threatening you? This includes leaving an emergency shelter or moving to a friend or family member’s home.
(Note: If you are in an emergency shelter, you may not enroll in ACP until you have your permanent residential address. If you own your home (your name is on the deed to the home) your address may not be kept confidentiality, please contact our office for more information)
3. Are you aware that your mail will first go to the substitute address (the ACP Post Office Box number with your ACP number on it) and then will be forwarded to you at your actual address?
4. Are you able to manage if your mail is delayed as much as 5-7 days?
5. Are you willing to make the Office of Victim Advocate your representative to receive all your mail including legal documents? (Note: This means when the ACP signs for a certified document on your behalf, you must accept the mail when it is forwarded to you.)
A victim service provider who works in a domestic violence, sexual assault or victim service program may help determine if the ACP would be helpful as part of your overall safety plan. To find a victim service provider in your area,
check this list of county resources OR contact our office at 1.800.563.6399.
Things to Consider
Is your residential address currently unknown to government agencies? (Note: If you have already created any government records that document your new residential address, the substitute address will be less helpful in protecting you.)
Are you willing to use your substitute address every time you interact with state and local government agencies, (for example Department of State, Department of Transportation (PennDOT), Department of Education (PDE), Department of Public Welfare (DPW)) to keep your actual address confidential?
Are you aware the ACP does not forward magazines, packages or junk mail? Are you willing to make other arrangements for delivery of packages, books and magazines? (Note: Only first class, registered and certified mail can be forwarded to you.)
If you answered “Yes” to each of these questions, the ACP may be right for you.
Using the ACP
After you are enrolled in ACP, you will receive a welcome packet that includes an authorization card that verifies your enrollment in the program. Your enrollment in the program is valid for three (3) years and may be renewed. ACP will forward all first class mail from its office to your actual address.
Whenever you are interacting with state and local government, they are required to use your substitute address that is provided to you by ACP.
If you have questions about using ACP or issues with using your substitute address, please contact 1.800.563.6399.