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State offers address confidentiality to victims of domestic violence

March 13, 2019 – On March 1 the state of Tennessee announced the introduction of the Tennessee Safe at Home Address Confidentiality Program, to give victims of domestic violence an alternate address to handle any official correspondence. Tennessee now joins the more than 35 other states offering similar domestic violence safety programs.

Safe at Home launched March 1 and aims to protect Tennessee victims of domestic violence, rape, human trafficking, stalking, and other related crimes from their abusers by keeping their address concealed from public records.

According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), 18 of the 84 domestic violence-related murder victims in Tennessee in 2017 were repeat victims, or had reported domestic abuse prior to their deaths.

Under current Tennessee law, most state or local government records are considered public and available for public review. These public records include identifying documents like voter registration and other documents and information, making it easy for abusers to track and find their victims.

Legislation passed in 2018 created the Safe at Home program and allows for participants of the program to be concealed from public records in order to shield survivors and victims from the ongoing threat of domestic violence. Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) and Rep. Andrew Farmer (R-Sevierville) sponsored the legislation.

Participants in the program will be provided a government-managed substitute address to be used as their official mailing address on all government documents. The address may be used for both victims and their children. Safe at Home forwards the mail received to program participants and keeps their personal address confidential.

Once enrolled, the participant can provide the substitute address to all government entities in Tennessee, with only a few exceptions. Participants may also request that other nongovernmental entities, such as schools, employers and other private businesses, use this address as well.

There is no cost to participate in the program, but participants must complete an application with the assistance of a certified application assistant.

Information about the Safe at Home program, participant eligibility, how to apply and more can be found at https://sos.tn.gov/safeathome