Missouri alters program for abuse victims after court order

The Safe at Home program. Credit: KMOV

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP and KMOV.com) - About 1,500 people are being asked to reapply for a Missouri program that shields the addresses of abuse victims after a St. Louis County judge ordered a woman to reveal her home address because of a flaw in the application process.

"Laws that are created to protect people forget about the people they're trying to protect," said the mother of the 28-year-old woman ordered to share her address. "That came as such a shock, because that meant if my daughter's application was invalid, so were the applications of every other person in the state who thought they were being protected by this."

The Safe at Home program lets victims of domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, human trafficking or stalking keep their addresses confidential by routing mail through a post office box run by Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft's office.

St. Louis County Circuit Judge Sandra Farragut-Hemphill recently ordered one participant to reveal her actual address as part of a divorce case. The judge said the application failed to include a sworn statement about the abuse as required by Missouri law.Participants have been sent new forms that include a sworn statement.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley issued an emergency motion on Friday for Judge Farragut-Hemphill to reconsider her decision with the case that brought the issue to light.

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