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New statewide program for abuse survivors launches April 1

in Wisconsin news

MADISON – A statewide address confidentiality program to help protect victims of abuse will launch April 1, according to a news release from Attorney General Brad Schimel.

Safe at Home provides victims of domestic abuse, child abuse, sexual abuse, stalking, and trafficking with a legal substitute address and free mail forwarding service. Enrollment in Safe at Home allows those who fear for their physical safety to maintain a confidential home, work, or school address.

“Those living in fear that their abuser might someday find them deserve to feel safe and secure in their own home, school, and workplace,” said Attorney General Brad Schimel. “The Department of Justice is honored to be able to provide this important public service and subsequent peace of mind to the most vulnerable of crime victims.”

Victim advocates from across the state worked to create the program, said Safe at Home Director Erin Welsh. “With the assistance of statewide coalitions, we are ensuring that victims in every corner of the state have access to Safe at Home as a safety planning tool.”

Wisconsin joins 35 other states in adopting an address confidentiality program, which was enacted in 2016 with bipartisan support as Wisconsin Act 356.

The program is supported by a broad base of partners including End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin, Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Legal Action of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Women’s Network, the Wisconsin Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, the Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association, and the Wisconsin Association of Family & Children’s Agencies.

People wishing to enroll in Safe at Home must first participate in safety planning with a trained victim service provider or community-based advocate designated by Safe at Home. Mandatory safety planning ensures that the protections offered by Safe at Home are implemented in a way that is meaningful and comprehensive for each participant. To date, nearly sixty advocates across the state are designated to provide safety planning services free of charge to Safe at Home applicants.

To learn more, visit the Safe at Home website at www.SafeAtHomeWI.gov. To enroll in Safe at Home, call 1-800-446-6564.

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