Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the California Address Confidentiality Program, Safe at Home?
The California Address Confidentiality Program, Safe at Home, is a program designed to offer victims of domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault and effective January 1, 2018, victims of human trafficking or reproductive health care facility employees, providers, patients, and volunteers a way to prevent their abuser from locating them through public records.
2. What does Safe at Home do?
The program should be used as one aspect of an overall safety plan. Participants are provided a substitute mailing address through the California Safe at Home Program. Safe at Home receives the participant's first class, certified and other registered mail and forwards it to the participant's mailing address at no cost. Safe at Home also serves as agent for services of process for Safe at Home participants.
3. Who is eligible?
Victims of domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault, or reproductive healthcare facility employees, providers, patients, and volunteers are eligible to enroll. Effective January 1, 2018, victims of human trafficking and household members of eligible victims in fear for his or her own safety or for the safety of a minor child or incapacitated adult may also apply.
4. What services are offered?
The Safe at Home Program provides the following services:
- Confidential mail forwarding
- Agent for Service of Process
- Confidential voter registration
- Use of the designated address on California state, county, city government agencies (excluding fetal death, death, birth, marriage, and divorce certificates).
Other California government agencies may offer additional services to Safe at Home participants such as:
- Department of Motor Vehicles records suppression
- Ability to petition a California Superior Court for a confidential name change -
- Confidential Vehicle Smog Certificate
- Online privacy protection - https://www.oag.ca.gov/privacy
5. How do those eligible apply for the Safe at Home Program?
All eligible persons may apply for the program by meeting, in person, with a victim's assistance counselor at a designated enrolling agency. Please refer to the Applicant page for more information Applicants
6. Can other household members participate in the Safe at Home Program?
Under most circumstances, yes. A participant can choose to enroll his or her minor children in the program. Additionally, as of January 1, 2018, all specified household members of an existing participant who is enrolled as a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking or human trafficking may enroll as participants themselves. Please discuss with the victim's assistance counselor at your enrolling agency all the individuals who would like to apply to become Safe at Home participants so they can advise you on the specific rules and requirements, and so that they can help you integrate Safe at Home enrollment into your overall safety plan.
As of January 1, 2018, other household members may apply depending upon their relationship to the victim. A victim's assistance counselor may help you make this determination.
Please note that household members of participants who have enrolled as reproductive health care workers are not eligible to participate unless they independently qualify.
7. What kind of mail is forwarded?
All first class, registered and certified mail addressed to the Safe at Home participant’s designated mailing address will be forwarded to the mailing address at no cost to the participant. Safe at Home will not forward packages, periodicals, catalogs, prescriptions, liquids or fragile items.
8. What happens after a person is accepted into the Safe at Home Program?
Once accepted into the Safe at Home Program, the participant receives a Participant Guide along with their Safe at Home Authorization Card (ID). The participant should immediately begin using the designated Safe at Home mailing address displayed on the Authorization Card (ID).
9. How long are participants certified to be in the program?
Upon acceptance into Safe at Home, participants are certified for four (4) years. After the four year period, they may renew their certification. The Safe at Home Program will send a renewal application to participants towards the end of their four year term.
10. Can someone be cancelled from the Safe at Home Program?
Yes. The Safe at Home Program may cancel a participant’s certification under certain circumstances. Click here for additional information Participants
11. Who is required to accept the substitute address?
All California state, county and city government agencies and California courts must accept the Safe at Home designated mailing address as the participant's actual residence address.
12. Will my mail be delayed?
Mail received at the designated address will be forwarded no less than twice a week.
Mail that is received with a name that differs from the enrolled name or mail that is received without the participant's four digit Authorization number (ID) may be delayed or returned to the sender if the Safe at Home program cannot determine the correct recipient.
13. Who else will have access to my confidential address?
A program participant's records are maintained as confidential and cannot be released by Safe at Home unless directed by a court of law, government agency, or requested by a law enforcement agency. Government agencies and law enforcement have to demonstrate a bona-fide administrative 'need to know' participant information before Safe at Home releases it as requested.
14. What happens if I move or change my name?
The Safe at Home Program must be notified in writing within seven (7) days of a change in residential address or name. Failure to comply may result in cancellation from the program.
15. What do I do if someone refuses to use the substitute address?
Safe at Home is not authorized to make demands of private organizations or businesses. Safe at Home can encourage acceptance of your Safe at Home mailing address and can remind government agencies who are required to accept the substitute mailing address of their obligation. However, California law does give participants in Safe at Home the right to hold organizations or businesses liable for publication of their confidential information under certain circumstances, (See California Government Code section 6208.1(b)(1). Safe at Home encourages participants to seek legal counsel to assist them with asserting their rights under California law.
16. How do participants register to vote without putting their confidential information at risk?
Participants should contact the Safe at Home Program to request a Confidential Voter Registration Form.
17. Does the Safe at Home Program remove or delete existing public information?
No, the program is not able to delete information that already exists in public records. However, additional information is available concerning online privacy protections at https://www.oag.ca.gov/privacy. Safe at Home participants should request that confidential information on public records be replaced by their Safe at Home designated mailing address.
18. Is the Safe at Home Program like a witness protection program?
No. The program does not hide participants or help them to change their identities, social security numbers, or location. Safe at Home provides participants with a substitute mailing address in lieu of a residential address that the participant can use with California government agencies. Safe at Home should be used as part of a larger safety plan that the participant should create with a victim's assistance counselor.
19. When buying residential property, how do I keep it confidential?
The California legislature, in Government Code Section 6209.5(a), authorizes Safe at Home participants to request that their residential address be replaced on real property deeds, change of ownership forms and deed of trust with their Safe at Home designated substitute mailing address. The legislature requires California government agencies to comply with the participant's request per Government Code 6207(a)(1) unless certain governmental circumstances apply.