Safe at Home tackles domestic violence

Haven of Hope is taking part in a new program – dubbed Safe at Home – which aims to help victims of domestic violence.

“Haven of Home is participating in the Safe at Home project through the State of Tennessee,” said Kellye Gilbert, executive director of Haven of Hope. “We have certified application assistants in our service area of Coffee, Bedford, Franklin, Lincoln, Marshal and Moore counties.”

Haven of Hope served 1,112 domestic violence victims face to face in fiscal year 2019. Of them, 307 were from Coffee County, according to Gilbert.

Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett recently announced the Safe at Home Address Confidentiality Program now has partners in nearly 60 counties in the state. Each of these partners has trained application assistants to guide participants through enrollment.

“As we pause to remember Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we want all survivors to know their safety matters,” Hargett said. “This program plays a critical role in the overall safety plan for victims.”

Secretary Hargett launched Safe at Home seven months ago. There are active participants in 18 counties across the state, with Coffee County being one of the partners.

The Safe at Home program provides approved applicants a substitute address that may be used for all legal purposes, including voter registration, along with additional government services such as a driver’s license and access to assistance programs.

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.

There is no cost to participate in the program. However, domestic violence victims must complete an application with the assistance of a certified application assistant.

Tennessee is fifth in the country for domestic murders.

Safe at Home is currently partnering with several organizations across the state including: YWCA of Tennessee, Wo/Men’s Resource and Rape Assistance Program (WRAP), Metro Office of Family Safety, Center of Hope in Maury County, Genesis House of Cookeville, Family Justice Centers, Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking and End Slavery TN.

In an effort to serve more victims and survivors, partnering agencies are still needed.

For more information about the Safe at Home program, participant eligibility or information regarding how to become a partner agency, visit sos.tn.gov/safeathome.com or call 615-253-3043.