Paul D. Pate
Secretary of State
Des Moines, IA 50319
|OFFICE OF THE IOWA SECRETARY OF STATE|
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 13, 2022
MEDIA RELEASE: Iowa’s address confidentiality program protects sexual assault survivors
DES MOINES – April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Secretary of State Paul Pate is reminding Iowans that address confidentiality is available for those needing an extra layer of protection. Iowa’s Safe at Home program provides a substitute address for survivors of sexual abuse domestic violence, assault, trafficking and stalking. The program is administered by the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office.
One in five women and one in 38 men have experienced rape or attempted rape in their lifetime, according to the CDC. Last year in Iowa, there were nearly 3,000 convictions for sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking. It is an issue in all 99 counties.
Participants’ Safe at Home address replaces their actual physical address, making it much more difficult for their abusers to find them. Participants also receive a mail forwarding service and confidential voter registration.
“This program is designed to help victims become survivors,” Secretary Pate said. “By giving them a replacement address, they’re able to return to a more normal life without the constant fear of being found by those that have done them harm. It’s important that we spread the word about Safe at Home and other programs available for survivors.”
The Secretary of State’s Office is partnering with Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) across the state to provide information directly to survivors. A SANE is a registered nurse who has specialized training to assist sexual assault victims. They are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week and provide compassionate, culturally sensitive treatment, and collect medical evidence.
“Sexual Assault Awareness Month is a time for us to bring to light the prevalence of sexual violence,” said Katy Rasmussen, Sexual Assault Response Team coordinator for Johnson County. “We need to educate our communities on the realities of sexual assault so that we can learn how to prevent it and how to support those who are affected by it. Sexual assault takes away a victim's bodily autonomy and their choice. Safe at Home helps to restore a sense of control and feelings of safety that was taken away from that survivor.”
Iowa’s Safe at Home program currently has more than 1,200 participants across 73 counties. This includes men, women and children from various age groups and races. It was launched in January of 2016. Roughly 40 states provide address confidentiality or confidential voter registration. To learn more about Iowa’s program, visit SafeatHome.Iowa.gov.