Jun 13, 2013 9:10 PM by John Overall

Domestic violence victims hide in plain sight

PHOENIX - Domestic violence is a big problem in our society. According to the Arizona Department of Health Services one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. Every 44 minutes in this state one or more children witness some type of domestic violence.

Many victims of DV are too scared to leave their abusive situation because they believe their abusers will find them and continue the abuse.

But now there's a new program offered by the state to help victims of domestic violence hide in plain sight.

One survivor of domestic violence told News 4 Tucson how she lived in constant fear after leaving an abusive relationship. "I never know where he's at, I never know what's going on with him," said the woman who asked not to be identified.

Today her fear isn't nearly as severe. She and her children make up one of 70 families in Arizona hiding in plain sight Thanks to the Address Confidentiality Program. No one outside of the secretary of state's office has access to her information, not even the police. "If I were to be pulled over by a Police officer and they typed in my name it would come up really blank," she said.

Ed Mercurio-Sakwa, CEO of Emerge, Center Against Domestic Abuse, says this program offers an extra layer of security for survivors of domestic violence. "It is incredibly dangerous for somebody to leave a domestic violence situation so this adds that extra resource for them to have some protection to their physical location while they do that and still be able to function in everyday life," Mercurio-Sakwa said.

Her mail is sent to a state office building then it's secretly delivered to her home. It's not an ideal life, but it's much safer then the life she left behind. "My ex could follow me home, he could find me in a parking lot somewhere, and he could follow me home and this could all be for naught. But I have to do whatever I can possibly do," She said.

To learn more about the Address Confidentiality Program contact the Secretary of State at or Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse at


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