New TN program protects survivors of violence by making some public records confidential

New TN program protects survivors of violence by making some public records confidential
The Safe at Home Address Confidentiality Program makes personal information, like addresses, private to protect victims of violence.

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - This week, Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett announced a program to advocate for women and survivors of violence.

Deborah Clubb, executive director of the Memphis Area Women’s Council, says the Safe at Home Address Confidentiality Program is much needed.

“This protects women who are fleeing from a batterer, from a rapist, from an abuser, from a trafficker," said Clubb. "It helps hide them and let them get their lives in order without fear of the person trying to track them down.”

Under current Tennessee law, most state and local records are public and available for anyone to look at, including a victim’s attacker.

“We know that they’ve gotten online and found the MLGW records and known where their former wife or girlfriend is living,” said Clubb. “Simple, easy because she had to put down a deposit and it’s on that address and there’s her name.”

Senator Brian Kelsey, of Germantown, and Rep. Andrew Farmer, of Sevierville, sponsored the Safe at Home legislation, so from now on a victim’s personal information, like their address, can’t fall into the wrong hands.

“So we’ve addressed the offender side, so now we got to do more on the victim’s side,” said Kelsey. “That’s why I think it’s important to have this Safe at Home legislation that’s being implemented.”

There is no cost to take part in the program, but participants are required to complete an application.

“I certainly hope that victims of domestic violence can find out about this program and will participate in it,” said Kelsey. “We’ve got to get the word out to all victims, we now have a remedy in place to help you and help you remain safe.”

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