Address Confidentiality Program
The Maryland Safe at Home Address Confidentiality Program (ACP) was established by
State law in 2006. Administered by the Office of the Secretary of State, the ACP prevents violence and future harm by working closely with government agencies and private companies to keep the location information of survivors and threatened individuals off public record. The ACP empowers Maryland residents who have recently relocated or intend to relocate to a new address to protect themselves and seek stability as active members of society without fearing for their safety.
The ACP has two components:
Substitute Address - the ACP assigns a legal substitute address for participants to use in place of a home, work, or school address. State law requires all government agencies, private companies, and individuals to accept the substitute address. The substitute address is not related in any way to an ACP participant’s actual address.
Mail-forwarding Service - ACP participants designate the Secretary of State at their agent to receive first-class, certified, and registered mail as well as service of process. Participant mail is forwarded free of charge to their confidential address.
The address confidentiality Program enables participnts to maintain a confidential residential, school, or wok address and to safely:
- Obtain a Maryland driver's license
- Register to vote
- Rent or purchase real property
- Enroll in school
- Access social services
- Participate in court proceedings
- Interact with law enforcement and emergency services
The ACP protects individuals and families who are fleeing threatened, attempted, or actual domestic violence, human trafficking, sexual assault, stalking, or harassment. Persons with greater security or privacy concerns, often because of their employment, also qualify for the Address Confidentiality Program.
Notice of ACP Participation
It is the responsibility of ACP participants to notify companies, agencies and individuals of their ACP participation by showing their Authorization Card or providing a signed copy of the Noice of ACP Participation form. Anyone on notice must accept and use the substitute PO Box address as the participant's legal address.
When notified that an individual participates in the ACP, state law requires that you:
Failure to comply with applicable law is a misdemeanor and, on conviction, is subject to a fine not exceeding $2,500.
- Do not ask the participant for another address unless knowledge of their actual residence is necessary for the provision of a service or benefit requested by the participant. In these situations, the participant will disclose their address and provide the Notice of ACP Participation form.
- Maintain the confidentiality of the name and address of the participant, even within your organization. You may not upload the actual, residential address with the participant's name to a shared database, for example, unless you have already obtained specific, written consent by the participant to do so.
- Use the substitute PO Box address for all mailed correspondence, and whenever else possible.
- Obtain specific, written consent from the participant for disclosure if their information might be sold, transferred, or accessed in any way by someone other than the person to whom they provided notice.
- Forward Notice to any person, company, or agency who receives the participant's information from you. Even if you plan to put the next person on Notice, however, you may not share participant information without written consent from the participant specific to the particular situation for which you will disclose participant information.