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Feeling Safe at Home

A program in Missouri helps crime victims remain anonymous by allowing them to use a P.O. box instead of a physical address. (Virgina Carter)
A program in Missouri helps crime victims remain anonymous by allowing them to use a P.O. box instead of a physical address. (Virgina Carter)
April 28, 2016

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Missouri is highlighting a program to help crime victims stay anonymous. It's called "Safe At Home." It was set up in 2007 and gives victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, rape and stalking a more anonymous address they can use.

Stephanie Fleming, communications director of the Missouri Secretary of State's Office, which runs the program, said the idea is to let victims keep their address private so they can feel safe in their own homes.

"Voter registration, driver's license, public school records: all of these are so public that to give them a substitute address to use on those forms, and it's a P.O. box not a physical address, really provides them with a sense of security and safety," she said.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1 in 5 women, and 1 in 71 men report experiencing rape at some time in their lives, and 7.5 million people are stalked each year in the U.S.

Fleming said law enforcement in Missouri has gotten behind the program. Victims are given a card to carry with them in case they're pulled over by an officer.

"That way law enforcement knows exactly what this card is when it's presented to them through the window if they've pulled someone over, or say they're at a scene of an accident," she added. "That way they know to use that address in the record."

The alternative address can also be used in connection with child support, food assistance programs, and even when applying for a public library card.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MO