Transforming the response to domestic abuse

Closes 31 May 2018

Anonymous registration

We want to ensure that once a victim has left an abusive relationship they have access to schemes that support them in keeping their personal details safe.

When individuals registers to vote in elections, their name and address appear on the publicly available electoral register. This helps protect the integrity of our democracy.

Anonymous registration was set up to help individuals whose safety would be at risk (or where the safety of other people at the same address as them would be at risk) if their name or address was listed on the electoral register. This could include, for example, witnesses in criminal cases and those escaping domestic violence. 

When an individual applies to register anonymously, they must include evidence that their safety, or the safety of someone who lives at the same address, would be put at risk if their name and address appeared on the electoral register. In the past this has not been easy for domestic abuse survivors.

In September 2017, the Government announced a package of legislative changesto make registering to vote anonymously easier.[1] The changes are expected to come into effect ahead of the 2018 May local elections in England.

The changes help survivors of domestic abuse to prove their safety is at risk by:

  • broadening the range of people able to formally certify that an applicant’s safety is at risk (to include refuge managers, health professionals and police inspectors)
  • expanding the list of documentary evidence to include domestic violence protection orders (DVPOs), and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) protection orders.

However, the government is keen to further investigate potential improvements in this area.

28. How much easier do you think it will be for domestic abuse victims to register to vote anonymously, once the changes summarised above happen?

29. What further support could survivors receive to prove their safety would be at risk if their name and address appeared on the electoral register? Please put forward one suggestion.

30. Do you have any further comments or suggestions on how to make it easier for domestic abuse survivors to anonymously register to vote?

31. Aside from anonymous registration, how else can we keep victims’ addresses safe?