FAQ - SAFE AT HOME
Q. What is Safe at Home?
A. Safe at Home is Kansas's address confidentiality program. It provides a substitute address for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking or stalking to use on all public records as well as a free first-class mail forwarding system for participants.
Q. Do any other states have similar programs?
A. Yes, there are several other states that have address confidentiality programs (ACP) and many others considering implementing programs. A list of these programs is available on our Web site.
Q. Who can apply to participate?
A. Any adult victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking or stalking; any family member living in the same home with the victim, any minor child or children, or an incapacitated person who is in fear for his or her safety can apply to Safe at Home.
Q. How do I apply?
A. Victims must meet with a certified enrolling assistant to discuss a safety plan and complete the application forms. Enrolling assistants are individuals who are employed or affiliated with a certified enrolling agent. Enrolling agents could be any public or private entity that offers shelter or counseling services to victims, law enforcement agencies, or any state or local agency. A list of enrolling agents is available on our Web site.
Q. How quickly will I know if I am accepted?
A. The SaH program coordinator will send out an acceptance packet or denial letter within 2-3 business days.
Q. Are there any other programs in Kansas that I should also join to stay safe?
A. Visit our useful links to see what other resources there are in Kansas. Also, local enrolling agents may have additional programs or services that can be a part of an overall safety plan.
Q. Where can I use the substitute address?
A. City, county and state offices - such as city clerks, county clerks, county treasurers, schools, the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Department for Children and Family Services and other similar offices - are required to accept the substitute address. Many private organizations may accept the address, but are not required to do so. We encourage participants to try to use the substitute address on all records with this understanding.
Q. What do I do if someone refuses to use the substitute address?
A. Please ask the individual or organization to contact the SaH program coordinator for more information about the program. Participants are instructed not to provide their confidential physical address for recording and at all times are encouraged to contact the SaH program coordinator if there are any problems or misunderstandings concerning the program.
Q. How does the program secure my contact information?
A. A secure computer database has been created by the Secretary of State's office to house all data provided by participants. Both the physical and electronic security are maintained at the highest level.
Q. Who has access to my application and contact information?
A. The SaH program coordinator is the only person with access to the participant database. There is one additional staff member who is trained to manage the database, but will only be granted access if absolutely necessary. If directed by a court order, Safe at Home is required to release the information to the court. Also, if we receive a valid law enforcement request, information will be released to the requesting officer.
Q. How will I get my mail?
A. The SaH program coordinator checks the mail on a regular basis. When any mail is received, it is mailed to the participant's mailing address within two to three business days. Participants must understand that mail could be delayed up to seven days.
Q. If a bill or notice is delayed because of Safe at Home, will you help explain my situation to the creditor if I make a late payment?
A. The SaH program coordinator is always willing to explain the program to organizations or individuals. However, Safe at Home cannot be responsible for late payments or missed notices by the participant. It is the responsibility of the participant to understand and account for the mail delay.
Q. If my abuser is the parent of my children and he/she still has visitation rights, can I still apply for the program?
A. Individuals with children can participant in Safe at Home. However, we are required to notify the other parent within 10 days of the participant's new substitute address for all legal notification. This requirement should be discussed when developing the safety plan with the enrolling assistant to determine if Safe at Home is a good fit for the particular situation.
Q. If I am planning to legally change my name, can I still enroll now?
A. Anyone who legally changes his or her name while participating in Safe at Home will be cancelled from the program, but may reapply under the new legal name.
Q. How do participants register to vote?
A. Participants are encouraged to register to vote when completing the application for Safe at Home. The standard Kansas voter registration card that is used to register all voters also is used for participants. The card should be completed in the same manner as all other voters including the actual confidential physical address of the participant. The only difference for Safe at Home participants is that the registration card must be submitted to the SaH program coordinator instead of the local election officer.
Q. Do I have to register to vote when I apply to the program or can I do it later?
A. Participants can register at any point while in Safe at Home. However, it is strongly recommended that the voter registration card is completed with the application to enroll in Safe at Home and that it be submitted at the same time as the application is submitted to the SaH program coordinator. Safe at Home participant voter registration cards are submitted directly to the SaH program coordinator, not the local election officer or the Elections Division of the Secretary of State's office. If the voter registration is not submitted directly to the SaH program coordinator there is a large risk that the participant could be entered into the statewide centralized voter registration database that is an open record and easily available to the public.
Q. As a participant, can I vote in person on Election Day?
A. Safe at Home participants who register to vote automatically become permanent advance voters while certified in Safe at Home. They must vote by mail for every election in which they are a qualified voter. An advance mail ballot will be mailed to the participant by the SaH program coordinator approximately 15 to 20 days prior to the election. This ensures that the address of the participant is secure and that no one will have access to the individual's actual location.
If you have a question that is not addressed here, please contact the SaH program coordinator.