Domestic violence is an ongoing and terrible problem both in the United States and all over the world. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of every four women and one out of every seven men have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner. The women and men who survive this violence and choose to leave the relationship face a host of challenges.
In addition to dealing with the physical and psychological damage caused by the abuse, victims often have to face a complex and intimidating court system. While some survivors choose to speak out publicly about their situations, others remain afraid that their abusers may hurt them again. These victims may reasonably be afraid of going to court, for fear of their abuser learning their new address. It is important for these survivors to understand that they have privacy rights and understand what those rights are.
Illinois Statute Protects Domestic Violence Survivor’s Right to Keep Their Address Confidential
The Illinois legislature passed a statute called the “Confidentiality for Victims of Domestic Violence Act.” Under this law you can apply to the state Attorney General to have an address designated by the Attorney General to serve as your “official” address. This means that your actual address would remain confidential.
In order to apply for this protection, you have to submit a sworn statement explaining that you are a domestic violence victim and that you fear for your safety. You can also apply for similar protections for your children if you also fear for their safety. You then provide the Attorney General with your mailing address and phone number, and officially give the him or her the right to accept mail on your behalf. You also have to tell the Attorney General the address that you wish to keep confidential.
Once you go through this process you will remain in the program for four years, and there is a renewal process if you need to keep your address confidential for longer. The law also provides a system under which you will receive absentee ballots in order to protect you from having to reveal your actual address when exercising your right to vote.
Call Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C.
Living with domestic violence is scary. The decision to escape it can be even scarier. When you make the decision to leave an abusive situation you need strong advocates on your side who can help you with issues like seeking an order of protection, sorting out child custody, and divorce if necessary. That is why you should call the experienced Illinois family law attorneys at Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C. Reach us today at 630-665-7676. We are available to help you.