Tennessee’s Safe at Home program stark reminder of pandemic’s impact on victims of abuse

By Diana Fedinec
December 23, 2021

Tennessee’s Secretary of State Tre Hargett recently released information to stakeholders across the state about Tennessee’s Safe at Home Address Confidentiality Program.  The program was enacted by the Tennessee General Assembly in 2018 to aid victims of domestic abuse, stalking, human trafficking, rape, sexual battery, or any other sexual offense. 

The public reminder of the program no doubt reflects the ripple effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on home life. Countless reports by health experts and advocacy groups have attributed a rise in domestic violence and family abuse cases across the world to the pandemic, due to stay-at-home orders and other factors.

Safe at Home protects the confidentiality of a program participant’s address through a ‘substitute’ address as their official mailing address at no cost. The address can be used for all state and local government purposes and for their children, including public school or public benefits enrollment (with few exceptions). By doing so, the participant’s confidential address will not appear in public records relating to either themselves or their children. Under current Tennessee Public Records Act, most state and local records are public and available for anyone’s inspection.

Southwest Tennessee Community College shared the Safe at Home program information college-wide, in keeping with its commitment to ensure the safety and health of its students and employees and the communities it serves. Students and employees with questions about the program are asked to contact the college’s Office of Human Resources at humanresources@southwest.tn.edu.

For more information about the Safe at Home program, visit the Tennessee Secretary of State’s Safe at Home Address Confidentiality Program website.

For more information on the College’s Coronavirus response, visit https://www.southwest.tn.edu/coronavirus/.  To learn more about the four phases of the Back to Campus Plan, visit Southwest’s Back to Campus Plan site.

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