October is recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Tennesseans who are potential victims of abuse are encouraged to utilize the free Safe at Home program offered by the state. Safe at Home is the free statewide address confidentiality program for anyone who has experienced domestic violence, stalking, human trafficking or any sexual offense.
In Lake County, WRAP in Jackson, 731-668-0411 and the 29th Judicial District Attorney General’s Office in Dyersburg, 731-286-8329, are partner agencies to help residents enroll in the Safe at Home program.
“Right now, nearly 550 Safe at Home participants across the state are protecting themselves from becoming victims again by protecting their address,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “I encourage Tennesseans of any age or gender who’ve been victims of domestic violence, stalking, human trafficking, or any sexual offense to take advantage of this free program.”
Safe at Home prevents abusers from locating their victims through public records by providing approved applicants a substitute address that may be used for legal purposes, including voter registration and government services, such as a driver’s license and access to assistance programs. Under current Tennessee law, most state and local government records are available for public review. These public records, which include home addresses and other identifying information, can make it easy for abusers to track and find their victims, according to a press release issued by Hargett’s office.
Safe at Home participants are issued a substitute address they can use anytime they interact with state and local governments or anyone who could potentially make their home address part of the public record.
This substitute address can be used by anyone in the household, including children, elderly parents and new spouses.
“I’ve grown to appreciate the Safe at Home program simply because it keeps my residential address confidential,” said Safe at Home program participant Danette Mahabeer. “I don’t have to worry about my mail anymore. They are sorted and sent to me in a timely fashion. I just love the fact that the people behind the scenes really care about keeping me safe.”
The first step to enrolling in the Safe at Home program is to complete an application with a partnering agency in your community. Safe at Home has partner agencies serving all 95 counties in Tennessee. Each partner agency has certified application assistants to guide participants through enrollment.
Safe at Home partner agencies include state and local agencies and nonprofit organizations that provide counseling and shelter services to victims of domestic abuse and other crimes.
For more information about the Safe at Home program, participant eligibility or becoming a partner agency, visit SafeAtHomeTN.com or call 615-253-3043.