Program Can Help Iowa Domestic Abuse Survivors Disappear
Iowa women or men that are survivors of domestic violence, sexual abuse, trafficking or stalking now have an option that could help make them feel safer.
The Safe at Home program offers address confidentiality for those who have survived these horrible situations. It offers a mailing center for those people and can make changes to a driver's license to display a generic address. It even allows them to get absentee ballots anonymously.
The need is definitely there, locally. Anastasia Wilson, Victim Advocate with the Linn County Attorney’s Office in Cedar Rapids, tells me "... our office prosecuted approximately 450 Domestic Abuse cases in 2015. This doesn't include unreported domestic violence in our community or the number of victims that obtain a civil protection order against their abuser. Protecting victims of domestic violence needs to be a priority and the Safe At Home program gives victims a substitute address that they can use so they never have to use their actual address and it will never appear on any sort of public record. In this day and age, it is incredibly easy to find a person’s address and one of the greatest fears a victim has is that their abuser will find them after they have fled the abusive relationship. Safe At Home is a great resource that allows victims to keep their address completely confidential and has the goal of providing some peace of mind for victims."
Former Cedar Rapids Mayor and now Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate is squarely behind the project. He told KTIV, "You probably know friends, neighbors who are in bad situations or have been victims and want to move over to becoming survivors and you should offer this resource to them and tell them hey I heard about a program you might want to look into. It is one more step in trying to get them on the right track."
Safe at Home launched earlier this year in Iowa but already has around 6,500 members in Kansas, Missouri, and Minnesota. That's both good and horrible news, obviously. If you or someone you know can be helped by this program, please visit the Iowa Safe at Home website here.