Safe at Home is California's address confidentiality program administered by the California Secretary of State’s office. The program, which provides a free post office box and mail forwarding service, is designed to help victims and survivors of domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault to start new lives in peace and to provide added protections to their overall safety plans.
Safe at Home is not a Witness Protection Program, nor does it provide relocation, counseling or legal services. Safe at Home laws apply to state and local government agencies, but not to private entities or to the federal government. Participants are not automatically qualified for other victim services programs; they must meet specific qualifications in order to be eligible for services administered by the Secretary of State’s office, county Registrar of Voters offices, the California Superior Court System, and the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
Agent for Service of Process
The Secretary of State acts as your agent for service of process to protect your address information from being disclosed to the other party in your court case. When you enroll, Safe at Home instructs the other party and his or her attorney to serve court-related correspondence on the Secretary of State’s office in Sacramento. The service is then forwarded by certified mail to your confidential address. (per Government Code section 6206(a)(5))
Confidentiality for Children
If your children are enrolled, Safe at Home can provide an additional layer of protection for them, too. You can notify your enrolled child’s school of your family's participation in Safe at Home and prevent sharing of information about your child. (per Government Code section 6206(a))
First-class mail is securely handled and forwarded to your confidential home or mailing address. Residence address information is required to be current at all times and you must be domiciled in California in order to enroll or renew your enrollment in the program. (per Government Code section 6206(a))
Confidential Name Change
You may be eligible to petition a California court for a confidential name change. It is important to talk with a legal advisor before proceeding with a confidential name change. Safe at Home is responsible for filing the name change documents with the Secretary of State's office, but does not provide legal advice or assistance with completing the confidential name change process. (per Government Code section 6206.4, Code of Civil Procedure section 1277)
Confidential Voter Registration
You may be eligible to complete a confidential voter registration card and become a confidential voter. As a confidential voter, you can vote by mail and protect your voter registration information from campaigns, the media, and the general public. (per Government Code section 6207.5, Elections Code section 2166.5)
Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Records Suppression
The California Department of Motor Vehicles can suppress your driver license and vehicle registration records if you have a clean driving record and no criminal history. Suppression of these records protects your address information from being available on various state databases. A specific request to the DMV Confidential Records Unit is required in order to access the records. (per Government Code section 6207(e), Vehicle Code section 1808.21(d))
Internet Disclosure Prohibition
The California Office of the Attorney General, Privacy Enforcement and Protection offers an online opt-out form Safe at Home participants can use to remove their home address, telephone number or personal identifying information from a website. The law also prohibits a person, business, or association from knowingly and intentionally posting or displaying on the Internet, or soliciting, selling, or trading on the Internet a participant's home address, telephone number or personal identifying information and imposes a fine for violations of this law. (per Government Code section 6208.1 and 6208.2)