The Address Confidentiality Program provides enrolled survivors of stalking, sexual assault and domestic violence with the following core services:
- A legal substitute address
- Mail forwarding
Participants use the substitute address for creating or changing public records. Participant mail is repackaged and forwarded to participants at their actual address. ACP services can enhance a comprehensive safety plan and contribute to increased survivor safety. These services are provided at no cost to the program participants.
The ACP provides participants with a legal substitute address for home, school, and work. Generally, participants should use their substitute address instead of their actual address whenever possible. Under Colorado law, all state and local government agencies must accept a participant's substitute address. Private companies may accept the substitute address, but are not required to do so.
- How the Substitute Address Works
The substitute address is the address of the ACP office, plus an "apartment number" that is unique to each participant household. The apartment number allows ACP staff to sort participant mail quickly and efficiently. Since the substitute address is used for creating and updating public records, it is not confidential.
The ACP forwards all First Class participant mail on a daily basis. Mail is not forwarded on weekends and state holidays. The ACP forwards all First Class mail addressed to participants. First Class mail includes most types of personal mail, such as letters, postcards, and bills. This also includes certified and registered mail. The ACP cannot forward marketing mail ("junk mail" advertisements from businesses or nonprofits) or periodicals (magazines, newspapers, or newsletters). These items will be returned to the sender.
- Mail Handling Delay
Participants should expect a delay of one or two business days. Incorrectly addressed mail may be delayed further, or returned to the sender.
- Package Policy
The ACP is unable to forward packages of any type, including mail-order medications. The only exceptions are license plates and packets of bank checks. All other items will be returned to the sender. ACP participants should make other arrangements to receive packages. The Participant Handbook includes suggestions on receiving packages while maintaining confidentiality.
- Business Mail Policy
The ACP is unable to forward mail addressed to a business, trust, charitable organization, or similar entity. These entities are not eligible for program enrollment. The ACP will accept business mail only if the letter is addressed directly to the participant (not "in care of" or "to the attention of"). For more information, participants should refer to the Participant Handbook.
- Service of Process and Legal Mail
The ACP acts as participants' legal agent for the purpose of accepting legal mail and subpoenas (or any other personally-served document) as long as the service is in the participant's legal name. When the ACP accepts service on behalf of a participant, the participant is legally responsible for complying with the requirements contained in the legal document(s). ACP staff will notify participants about the service and forward the served document(s) by mail.
Due to COVID-19, the ACP is operating with limited in-person staff. Service of process will be accepted from 9 AM to 3 PM, Monday through Friday.
Participants are certified for four years, and may renew their certification for additional four year terms. Participants can continue program services as long as needed, and may voluntarily withdraw from the program at any time.
Once the ACP receives and processes a program application, the ACP sends the new participant household a "Welcome Packet" that contains program instructions, forms and authorization cards. The authorization cards reflect the assigned substitute address. Program participants must present their authorization card when creating or changing public records.
Enrolling in the ACP protects some (but not all) types of information:
- Actual street address
- Mailing address, if different
- City of residence
- County of residence
- Voting precinct
- Phone number
- Unique identifying information related to a participant's home, work, or school address
- ACP participation status
- Date of ACP enrollment
- A participant's substitute address
- State of residence
- Records created over 90 days prior to ACP enrollment
- Information voluntarily provided by the participant to a state or local government agency
- Requesting Additional Confidentiality
In 2015, the Colorado laws were amended to include the following confidentiality provision: If a participant submits a written request for additional confidentiality to a state or local government agency, the following information (in addition to the above confidential information) shall not be made available on the Internet:
- Personal e-mail address
- Photographs of the participant
- Directions to the home of the participant
- Photographs of the participant's home or vehicle
- Verification of Participation to Third Parties
The ACP can verify a participant's enrollment in the program, as well as whether an ACP authorization card is current and valid. The ACP will not release the confidential information listed above.
- Emergency Release of Participant Address Information
The ACP is required to release a participant's actual address to a criminal justice agency if the information is required pursuant to a criminal justice trial, hearing, proceeding or investigation involving a participant. Requesting officials must meet the requirements set out in §24-30-2110, C.R.S. and 1 CCR 103-6, Rule 8.0, which includes a completed form, an agency letter, two officials, one notary and three signatures. No information will be released unless all requirements are met.