2010 Pennsylvania Code
Title 23 - DOMESTIC RELATIONS
Chapter 67 - Domestic and Sexual Violence Victim Address Confidentiality
Confidentiality -


                                CHAPTER 67
       DOMESTIC AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE VICTIM ADDRESS CONFIDENTIALITY

     Sec.
     6701.  Short title of chapter.
     6702.  Definitions.
     6703.  Address Confidentiality Program.
     6704.  Persons eligible to apply.
     6705.  Application and certification process.
     6706.  Cancellation, expiration and voluntary withdrawal.
     6707.  Agency use of designated address.
     6708.  Disclosure of actual address.
     6709.  Waiver process.
     6710.  Emergency disclosure.
     6711.  Penalties.
     6712.  Rules and regulations.
     6713.  Civil immunity.

        Enactment.  Chapter 67 was added November 30, 2004, P.L.1474,
     No.188, effective in 180 days.
        Cross References.  Chapter 67 is referred to in section 1302
     of this title; section 4521.1 of Title 42 (Judicary and Judicial
     Procedure); sections 1103.1, 1132.1, 1305, 1510 of Title 75
     (Vehicles).
     § 6701.  Short title of chapter.
        This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the Domestic
     and Sexual Violence Victim Address Confidentiality Act.
     § 6702.  Definitions.
        The following words and phrases when used in this chapter
     shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
     context clearly indicates otherwise:
        "Actual address."  A residential address, school address or
     work address of an individual.
        "Law enforcement agency."  A police department of a city,
     borough, incorporated town or township, the Pennsylvania State
     Police, district attorneys' offices and the Office of Attorney
     General.
        "Office of Victim Advocate."  The office established under
     section 301 of the act of November 24, 1998 (P.L.882, No.111),
     known as the Crime Victims Act, that is responsible for the
     address confidentiality program pursuant to this chapter.
        "Program participant."  A person certified by the Office of
     Victim Advocate as eligible to participate in the address
     confidentiality program established by this chapter.
        "Substitute address."  The official address of the Office of
     Victim Advocate or a confidential address designated by the
     Office of Victim Advocate.
        "Victim of domestic violence."  A person who is a victim as
     defined by section 6102 (relating to definitions).
        "Victim of sexual assault."  A victim of an offense
     enumerated in 18 Pa.C.S. §§ 3121 (relating to rape), 4302
     (relating to incest), 6312 (relating to sexual abuse of
     children), 6318 (relating to unlawful contact with minor) and
     6320 (relating to sexual exploitation of children).
        "Victim of stalking."  A victim of an offense enumerated in
     18 Pa.C.S. § 2709.1 (relating to stalking).
     § 6703.  Address Confidentiality Program.
        (a)  Establishment.--The Office of Victim Advocate shall
     establish a program to be known as the Address Confidentiality
     Program. Upon application and certification, persons eligible
     under section 6704 (relating to persons eligible to apply) shall
     receive a confidential substitute address provided by the Office
     of Victim Advocate.
        (b)  Administration.--The Office of Victim Advocate shall
     forward all first class, registered and certified mail at no
     expense to a program participant within three business days. The
     Office of Victim Advocate may arrange to receive and forward
     other classes or kinds of mail at the program participant's
     expense.
        (c)  Notice.--Upon certification, the Office of Victim
     Advocate shall provide notice of participation and the program
     participant's substitute address to appropriate officials
     involved in an ongoing civil or criminal case in which a program
     participant is a victim, witness, plaintiff or defendant.
        (d)  Records.--All records relating to applicants and program
     participants are the property of the Office of Victim Advocate.
     These records, including program applications, participants'
     actual addresses and waiver proceedings, shall be kept
     confidential and shall not be subject to the provisions of the
     act of June 21, 1957 (P.L.390, No.212), referred to as the
     Right-to-Know Law, except that records may be released as
     specifically set forth in this chapter and to a district
     attorney to the extent necessary for the prosecution of conduct
     as set forth in section 6711 (relating to penalties).

        References in Text.  The act of June 21, 1957 (P.L.390,
     No.212), referred to as the Right-to-Know Law, referred to in
     subsec. (d), was repealed by the act of February 14, 2008
     (P.L.6, No.3), known as the Right-to-Know Law.
     § 6704.  Persons eligible to apply.
        The following persons shall be eligible to apply to become
     program participants:
            (1)  A victim of domestic violence who files an affidavit
        with the Office of Victim Advocate stating the affiant's
        eligibility for a protection from abuse order and further
        stating that the affiant fears future violent acts by the
        perpetrator of the abuse.
            (2)  A victim of sexual assault who files an affidavit
        with the Office of Victim Advocate describing the
        perpetrator's violent actions or threatened violent actions
        toward the affiant and further stating that the affiant fears
        future violent acts by the perpetrator of the sexual
        violence.
            (3)  A victim of stalking who files an affidavit with the
        Office of Victim Advocate describing the perpetrator's course
        of conduct or repeated actions toward the affiant meeting the
        criteria enumerated in 18 Pa.C.S. § 2709.1 (relating to
        stalking) and further stating that the affiant fears future
        violent acts by the perpetrator of the stalking.
            (4)  A person who is a member of the same household as a
        program participant.
            (5)  A program participant who notifies the Office of
        Victim Advocate of the participant's intent to continue in
        the program prior to the expiration of certification.

        Cross References.  Section 6704 is referred to in sections
     6703, 6705, 6711 of this title.
     § 6705.  Application and certification process.
        (a)  General rule.--A person must file an application with
     the Office of Victim Advocate on a form prescribed by the Office
     of Victim Advocate. The Office of Victim Advocate shall certify
     eligible applicants as program participants in accordance with
     the procedures outlined in subsection (b). Certification shall
     be valid for a period of three years following the date of
     certification unless the certification is withdrawn or canceled
     before the expiration of that period.
        (b)  Requirements for certification.--The Office of Victim
     Advocate shall certify an applicant as a program participant if:
            (1)  The applicant meets the eligibility requirements
        under section 6704 (relating to persons eligible to apply).
            (2)  The applicant designates the Office of Victim
        Advocate as an agent for the purpose of receiving service of
        process.
            (3)  The application contains the applicant's actual
        address and telephone number where the applicant can be
        contacted.
            (4)  The application contains a list of all pending civil
        and criminal proceedings in which the applicant is a victim,
        witness, plaintiff or defendant and, if applicable, the
        applicant's involvement with State and county probation and
        parole.
            (5)  The application contains a statement signed by the
        applicant affirming that the information provided by the
        applicant is true to the best of the applicant's information,
        knowledge and belief.
            (6)  The application contains a statement signed by the
        applicant acknowledging that the applicant has a continuing
        duty to notify the Office of Victim Advocate of any change in
        the information provided to the Office of Victim Advocate in
        accordance with this chapter. The duty shall remain in effect
        for the duration of participation in the program.
            (7)  The application contains the date, the applicant's
        signature and the signature of any person who assisted in the
        preparation of the application.

        Cross References.  Section 6705 is referred to in section
     6711 of this title.
     § 6706.  Cancellation, expiration and voluntary withdrawal.
        (a)  Cancellation.--The Office of Victim Advocate shall
     cancel the certification of a program participant if:
            (1)  the program participant willingly provided false
        information on any portion of the application;
            (2)  the program participant failed to notify the Office
        of Victim Advocate within five days of a name change or an
        address change; or
            (3)  the program participant's mail is returned to the
        Office of Victim Advocate as nondeliverable.
        (b)  Expiration.--Certification as a program participant
     shall expire three years from the date on which an applicant was
     certified as a program participant. The Office of Victim
     Advocate shall send written notification of pending expiration
     to a program participant's last known actual address 30 days
     prior to the expiration of certification.
        (c)  Withdrawal.--A program participant may withdraw at any
     time by notifying the Office of Victim Advocate in writing.
        (d)  Effect of cancellation, expiration or withdrawal.--
     Notwithstanding cancellation, expiration or prior withdrawal
     from the program, all persons eligible to apply to become
     program participants may reapply for participation in the
     program.
     § 6707.  Agency use of designated address.
        State and local government agencies shall accept the
     substitute address designated on a valid program participation
     card issued to the program participant by the Office of Victim
     Advocate as the program participant's address except as follows:
            (1)  when the State or local government agency has been
        granted a waiver pursuant to section 6709 (relating to waiver
        process); or
            (2)  when the program participant is any of the
        following:
                (i)  a released offender complying with State or
            county probation or parole requirements; or
                (ii)  a convicted sexual offender who has fulfilled
            the offender's sentence but must register the offender's
            community residence as required under 42 Pa.C.S. §§
            9795.1 (relating to registration) and 9795.2 (relating to
            registration procedures and applicability) or any similar
            registration requirement imposed by any other
            jurisdiction.
     § 6708.  Disclosure of actual address.
        The Office of Victim Advocate shall not disclose the actual
     address of a program participant except to any of the following:
            (1)  A State or local government agency when the State or
        local government agency has been granted a waiver by the
        Office of Victim Advocate and the disclosure is made pursuant
        to section 6709 (relating to waiver process).
            (2)  A person or agency when disclosure is determined by
        the Office of Victim Advocate to be required due to an
        emergency and the disclosure is made pursuant to section 6710
        (relating to emergency disclosure).
            (3)  A person identified in an order of court directing
        the Office of Victim Advocate to disclose the program
        participant's actual address and disclosure is made pursuant
        to the court order.

        Cross References.  Section 6708 is referred to in section
     6711 of this title.
     § 6709.  Waiver process.
        (a)  Request for waiver.--A State or local government agency
     requesting disclosure of a program participant's actual address
     pursuant to this section shall make such a request in writing on
     agency letterhead and shall provide the Office of Victim
     Advocate with the following information:
            (1)  The name of the program participant for whom the
        agency seeks disclosure of the actual address.
            (2)  A statement, with explanation, setting forth the
        reason or reasons that the agency needs the program
        participant's actual address and a statement that the agency
        cannot meet its statutory or administrative obligations
        without disclosure of the program participant's actual
        address.
            (3)  A particular statement of facts showing that other
        methods to locate the program participant or the program
        participant's actual address have been tried and have failed
        or that the methods reasonably appear to be unlikely to
        succeed.
            (4)  A statement that the agency has adopted a procedure
        setting forth the steps the agency will take to protect the
        confidentiality of the program participant's actual address.
        (b)  Notice to program participant.--
            (1)  Except as provided in paragraph (3), the Office of
        Victim Advocate shall provide the program participant with
        notice of a request for waiver received pursuant to
        subsection (a), and, to the extent possible, the program
        participant shall be afforded an opportunity to be heard
        regarding the request.
            (2)  Except as provided in paragraph (3), the Office of
        Victim Advocate shall provide the program participant with
        written notification whenever a waiver has been granted or
        denied pursuant to this section.
            (3)  No notice or opportunity to be heard shall be given
        to the program participant when the request for disclosure is
        made by a State or local law enforcement agency conducting a
        criminal investigation involving alleged criminal conduct by
        the program participant or when providing notice to the
        program participant would jeopardize an ongoing criminal
        investigation or the safety of law enforcement personnel.
        (c)  Review of request for waiver.--The Office of Victim
     Advocate shall promptly conduct a review of all requests
     received pursuant to this section. In conducting a review, the
     Office of Victim Advocate shall consider all information
     received pursuant to subsections (a) and (b) and any other
     appropriate information that the Office of Victim Advocate may
     require.
        (d)  Criteria for granting a request for waiver.--The Office
     of Victim Advocate shall grant a State or local government
     agency's request for waiver and release a program participant's
     actual address pursuant to this section if:
            (1)  the agency has a bona fide statutory or
        administrative need for the actual address;
            (2)  the actual address will only be used for the purpose
        stated in the request;
            (3)  other methods to locate the program participant or
        the program participant's actual address have been tried and
        have failed or such methods reasonably appear to be unlikely
        to succeed; and
            (4)  the agency has adopted a procedure for protecting
        the confidentiality of the actual address of the program
        participant.
        (e)  Form of waiver.--Upon granting a request for waiver
     pursuant to this section, the Office of Victim Advocate shall
     provide the State or local government agency receiving the
     waiver with a form containing:
            (1)  the program participant's actual address;
            (2)  a statement setting forth the permitted use of the
        actual address and the names or classes of persons permitted
        to have access to and use of the actual address;
            (3)  a statement that the agency receiving the waiver is
        required to limit access to and use of the actual address to
        the permitted use and persons set forth in the waiver; and
            (4)  the date on which the waiver expires if the
        permitted use makes the expiration appropriate, after which
        the agency may no longer maintain, use or have access to the
        actual address.
        (f)  Requirements of a State and local government agency
     receiving a waiver.--A State or local government agency granted
     a waiver by the Office of Victim Advocate pursuant to this
     section shall:
            (1)  limit the use of the program participant's actual
        address to the purposes set forth in the waiver;
            (2)  limit the access to the program participant's actual
        address to the persons or classes of persons set forth in the
        waiver;
            (3)  cease to use and dispose of the program
        participant's actual address upon the expiration of the
        waiver; and
            (4)  except as otherwise set forth in the waiver,
        maintain the confidentiality of a program participant's
        actual address.
        (g)  Denial of request for waiver.--Upon denial of a State or
     local government agency's request for waiver, the Office of
     Victim Advocate shall provide prompt written notification to the
     agency stating that the agency's request has been denied and
     setting forth the specific reasons for the denial.
        (h)  Filing of exceptions.--A State or local government
     agency may file written exceptions with the Office of Victim
     Advocate no more than 15 days after written notification is
     provided pursuant to subsection (g). The exceptions shall
     restate the information contained in the request for waiver,
     state the grounds upon which the agency asserts that the request
     for waiver should be granted and specifically respond to the
     Office of Victim Advocate's specific reasons for denial.
        (i)  Review of exceptions and determination.--Unless the
     State or local government agency filing exceptions agrees
     otherwise, the Office of Victim Advocate shall make a final
     determination regarding the exceptions within 30 days after the
     filing of exceptions pursuant to subsection (h). Prior to making
     a final determination regarding the exceptions, the Office of
     Victim Advocate may request additional information from the
     agency or the program participant and conduct a hearing. If the
     final determination of the Office of Victim Advocate is that the
     denial of the agency's request for waiver was properly denied,
     the Office of Victim Advocate shall provide the agency with
     written notification of this final determination stating that
     the agency's request has again been denied and setting forth the
     specific reasons for the denial. If the final determination of
     the Office of Victim Advocate is that the denial of the agency's
     request for waiver has been improperly denied, the Office of
     Victim Advocate shall grant the agency's request for waiver in
     accordance with this section. The final determination of the
     Office of Victim Advocate shall be the final order of the Office
     of Victim Advocate.
        (j)  Agency appeal of final determination.--Within 30 days
     after notification that the Office of Victim Advocate has made a
     final determination affirming the denial of a State or local
     government agency's request for waiver, an agency may file a
     petition for review or any such other document as permitted or
     required by general court rules. The Office of Victim Advocate
     shall be given notice of any action commenced in accordance with
     this subsection or general rule and shall be afforded an
     opportunity to respond as permitted or required by general court
     rules.
        (k)  Record on appeal.--The record before any court hearing
     an agency appeal pursuant to subsection (j) shall consist of the
     State or local government agency's request for waiver, the
     Office of Victim Advocate's written response, the agency's
     exceptions, the hearing transcript, if any, and the Office of
     Victim Advocate's final determination.
        (l)  Use of substitute address during certain periods.--
     During any period of review, evaluation or appeal, the agency
     shall, to the extent possible, accept and use the program
     participant's substitute address.
        (m)  Waiver.--Nothing in this section shall be construed to
     prevent the Office of Victim Advocate from granting a waiver to
     a State or local government agency pursuant to this section upon
     receipt of a program participant's written consent to do so.

        Cross References.  Section 6709 is referred to in sections
     6707, 6708 of this title.
     § 6710.  Emergency disclosure.
        (a)  General rule.--The Office of Victim Advocate shall
     establish a system to respond to requests for emergency
     disclosures that will provide for 24-hour access to a program
     participant's actual address.
        (b)  Request for emergency disclosure.--A government agency
     may request that the Office of Victim Advocate disclose a
     program participant's actual address through the system
     established pursuant to subsection (a). The Office of Victim
     Advocate shall disclose a program participant's actual address
     if the disclosure:
            (1)  will prevent physical harm to a program participant
        or to a program participant's family member; or
            (2)  is made to a law enforcement agency for law
        enforcement purposes and the circumstances warrant immediate
        disclosure.
        (c)  Requirements for emergency disclosure.--Prior to
     disclosing a program participant's actual address pursuant to
     this section, the Office of Victim Advocate shall require:
            (1)  verification of the requester's identity and the
        requester's employment with a government agency;
            (2)  verification of the stated reason for the request to
        adequately ensure that emergency disclosure is required
        pursuant to subsection (b);
            (3)  proof, to the satisfaction of the Office of Victim
        Advocate, that other methods to locate the program
        participant or the program participant's actual address have
        been tried and have failed or that the methods reasonably
        appear to be unlikely to succeed given the circumstances of
        the stated reason for the request;
            (4)  that the program participant's actual address only
        be used by the requester or the agency to the extent
        necessary to respond to the stated reason for the request;
            (5)  that the requester and the requester's agency
        maintain the confidentiality of the actual address of the
        program participant; and
            (6)  that the requester and the requester's agency agree
        to dispose of the program participant's actual address as
        soon as practicable after the circumstances surrounding the
        stated reason for the request no longer require emergency
        disclosure pursuant to this section.

        Cross References.  Section 6710 is referred to in section
     6708 of this title.
     § 6711.  Penalties.
        (a)  False information.--Any person who knowingly provides
     false information in regard to a material fact contained in any
     application made pursuant to section 6704 (relating to persons
     eligible to apply) or 6705 (relating to application and
     certification process) shall be subject to termination from the
     program and to criminal penalties under 18 Pa.C.S. § 4904
     (relating to unsworn falsification to authorities).
        (b)  Access by fraud or misrepresentation.--
            (1)  Except as provided in paragraph (2), any person who
        intentionally, knowingly or recklessly attempts to gain
        access to or gains access to a program participant's actual
        address by fraud or misrepresentation commits a misdemeanor
        of the second degree. A second or subsequent violation of
        this paragraph shall be graded as a felony of the third
        degree.
            (2)  A first offense under paragraph (1) shall be graded
        as a felony of the third degree if it is committed by any
        person who has previously been convicted of a crime of
        violence involving the program participant under paragraph
        (1) or the program participant's family or household member
        as defined in section 6102 (relating to definitions),
        including:
                18 Pa.C.S. § 2701 (relating to simple assault);
                18 Pa.C.S. § 2702 (relating to aggravated assault);
                18 Pa.C.S. § 2705 (relating to recklessly endangering
            another person);
                18 Pa.C.S. § 2709 (relating to harassment);
                18 Pa.C.S. § 2709.1 (relating to stalking);
                18 Pa.C.S. § 2901 (relating to kidnapping);
                18 Pa.C.S. § 3121 (relating to rape);
                18 Pa.C.S. § 3123 (relating to involuntary deviate
            sexual intercourse);
                18 Pa.C.S. § 4954 (relating to protective orders); or
                23 Pa.C.S. § 6108 (relating to relief).
        (c)  Unauthorized use of disclosed actual address.--A person
     who lawfully obtains a program participant's actual address
     pursuant to an exception contained in section 6708 (relating to
     disclosure of actual address) and who subsequently discloses or
     uses the actual address in a manner not authorized by this
     chapter commits a summary offense.

        Cross References.  Section 6711 is referred to in section
     6703 of this title.
     § 6712.  Rules and regulations.
        The Office of Victim Advocate shall have the following duties
     in order to implement this chapter:
            (1)  The Office of Victim Advocate shall adopt and use
        guidelines which shall be published in the Pennsylvania
        Bulletin. The guidelines shall not be subject to review under
        section 205 of the act of July 31, 1968 (P.L.769, No.240),
        referred to as the Commonwealth Documents Law, or the act of
        June 25, 1982 (P.L.633, No.181), known as the Regulatory
        Review Act.
            (2)  By July 1, 2006, the Office of Victim Advocate shall
        in accordance with law promulgate regulations to replace the
        guidelines under paragraph (1).
            (3)  The guidelines under paragraph (1) shall take effect
        in 180 days and expire on the earlier of the effective date
        of regulations promulgated under paragraph (2) or July 1,
        2007.
     § 6713.  Civil immunity.
        Except for gross negligence, recklessness or intentional
     misconduct, the Office of Victim Advocate, law enforcement
     agencies and all agents, contractors and employees of the Office
     of Victim Advocate or a law enforcement agency shall be immune
     from civil liability in any action arising in connection with
     this chapter.

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