DES MOINES, IOWA (August 21, 2020) — Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate is partnering with dental offices across the state to raise awareness of Safe at Home, an address-confidentiality program for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking, and stalking. Safe at Home booklets, brochures, and magnets were mailed to dentists in all 99 counties. They are encouraged to prominently display these materials and share program information with patients.
“It is my hope that by distributing information about Safe at Home to dental offices it will get into the hands of victims and survivors,” Sec Pate said. “The program adds an important layer of protection for Iowans, makes them feel safer and more secure, and provides peace of mind.”
Dental professionals may be able to identify abuse based on oral injuries and can assist patients by providing information about how address-confidentiality can help them.
"Dentists, hygienists, and other dental professionals are uniquely positioned to offer support to victims of abuse or neglect, and this program helps Iowans get the support they need," said Dr Nathan Hehr, president of the Iowa Dental Association.
Statistics show 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner during their lifetime. In 2019, Iowa experienced more than 3,000 combined convictions for domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
Safe at Home gives survivors of domestic violence, sexual abuse, trafficking, and stalking a substitute address which allows their actual address to be shielded from public records. It also provides mail-forwarding, confidential voter-registration, and absentee ballots.
The program, administered by the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office, currently serves more than 600 participants across 62 counties.