A. As used in this section:”Address” means a residential street address, school address, or work address of a person as specified on the person’s application to be a program participant.”Applicant” means a person who is a victim of domestic violence or stalking or is a parent or guardian of a minor child or incapacitated person who is the victim of domestic violence or stalking.”Domestic violence” means an act as defined in § 38.2-508 and includes threat of such acts committed against an individual in a domestic situation, regardless of whether these acts or threats have been reported to law-enforcement officers. Such threat must be a threat of force which would place any person in reasonable apprehension of death or bodily injury.”Domestic violence programs” means public and not-for-profit agencies the primary mission of which is to provide services to victims of sexual or domestic violence or stalking.”Program participant” means a person certified by the Office of the Attorney General as eligible to participate in the Address Confidentiality Program.”Stalking” means conduct that is prohibited under § 18.2-60.3, regardless of whether the conduct has been reported to a law-enforcement officer or the assailant has been charged with or convicted for the alleged violation.
B. The Statewide Facilitator for Victims of Domestic Violence shall establish a program to be known as the “Address Confidentiality Program” to protect victims of domestic violence and stalking by authorizing the use of designated addresses for such victims. An individual who is at least 18 years of age, a parent or guardian acting on behalf of a minor, a guardian acting on behalf of an incapacitated person, or an emancipated minor may apply in person, at domestic violence programs that provide services where the role of the services provider is (i) to assist the eligible person in determining whether the address confidentiality program should be part of such person’s overall safety plan; (ii) to explain the address confidentiality program services and limitations; (iii) to explain the program participant’s responsibilities; and (iv) to assist the person eligible for participation with the completion of application materials. The Office of the Attorney General shall approve an application if it is filed in the manner and on the form prescribed by the Attorney General and if the application contains the following:
C. Upon approval of a completed application, the Office of the Attorney General shall certify the applicant as a program participant. An applicant shall be certified for one year following the date of the approval, unless the certification is withdrawn or invalidated before that date. A program participant may apply to be recertified every year.
D. Upon receipt of first-class mail addressed to a program participant, the Attorney General or his designee shall forward the mail to the actual address of the program participant. The actual address of a program participant shall be available only to the Attorney General and to those employees involved in the operation of the Address Confidentiality Program and to law-enforcement officers. A program participant’s actual address may be entered into the Virginia Criminal Information Network (VCIN) system so that it may be made known to law-enforcement officers accessing the VCIN system for law-enforcement purposes.
2. The program participant obtains a name change through an order of the court and does not provide notice and a copy of the order to the Office of the Attorney General within seven days after entry of the order;
7. The applicant is required to register as a sex offender pursuant to Chapter 9 (§ 9.1-900 et seq.) of Title 9.1.For purposes of the address confidentiality program, residents of temporary housing for 30 days or less are not eligible to enroll in the address confidentiality program until a permanent residential address is obtained.The application form shall contain a statement notifying each applicant of the provisions of this subsection.
F. A program participant may request that any state or local agency use the address designated by the Office of the Attorney General as the program participant’s address, except when the program participant is purchasing a firearm from a dealer in firearms. The agency shall accept the address designated by the Office of the Attorney General as a program participant’s address, unless the agency has received a written exemption from the Office of the Attorney General demonstrating to the satisfaction of the Attorney General that:
2. The disclosed confidential address of the program participant will be used only for that statutory purpose and will not be disclosed or made available in any way to any other person or agency.A state agency may request an exemption by providing in writing to the Office of the Attorney General identification of the statute or administrative rule that demonstrates the agency’s bona fide requirement and authority for the use of the actual address of an individual. A request for a waiver from an agency may be for an individual program participant, a class of program participants, or all program participants. The denial of an agency’s exemption request shall be in writing and include a statement of the specific reasons for the denial. Acceptance or denial of an agency’s exemption request shall constitute final agency action.Any state or local agency that discloses the program participant’s confidential address provided by the Office of the Attorney General shall be immune from civil liability unless the agency acted with gross negligence or willful misconduct.A program participant’s actual address shall be disclosed pursuant to a court order.
G. Records submitted to or provided by the Office of the Attorney General in accordance with this section shall be exempt from disclosure under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700 et seq.) to the extent such records contain information identifying a past or current program participant, including such person’s name, actual and designated address, telephone number, and any email address. However, access shall not be denied to the person who is the subject thereof, or the parent or legal guardian of a program participant in cases where the program participant is a minor child or an incapacitated person, except when the parent or legal guardian is named as the program participant’s assailant.
H. Neither the Office of the Attorney General, its officers or employees, or others who have a responsibility to a program participant under this section shall have any liability nor shall any cause of action arise against them in their official or personal capacity from the failure of a program participant to receive any first class mail forwarded to him by the Office of the Attorney General pursuant to this section. Nor shall any such liability or cause of action arise from the failure of a program participant to timely receive any first class mail forwarded by the Office of the Attorney General pursuant to this section.
2007, c. 599; 2008, c. 649; 2011, cc. 97, 172; 2014, c. 439.