Secretary of State’s Safe at Home Program Expanded Under Legislative Effort Led by Sen. John Stevens and Rep. Andrew Farmer

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. –  The Secretary of State’s Safe at Home Address Confidentiality Program has been expanded as a result of SB0885/HB1128, sponsored by State Senator John Stevens and State Representative Andrew Farmer. The bill was signed and enacted into law on April 13th. The amended law expands the eligibility requirements for participation in the Secretary of State’s Safe at Home Address Confidentiality Program. 

The Safe at Home Program was originally created in 2019 to provide survivors of domestic violence, stalking, human trafficking, and sexual offenses a substitute address to use throughout state and local government—a measure to protect survivors from discovery by their abusers or predators through public records. Participants may also use their substitute address to obtain a driver’s license and register to vote. 

Under the original law, a survivor’s minor children may be included and approved to participate in the program on the same application. As the Safe at Home Program has grown, the Secretary of State’s office recognized the need to expand the eligibility requirements of participants. 

With the new changes, the Safe at Home Program will be open to more individuals who can be included under the same substitute address with the primary survivor—such as a new spouse, an adult child living at home, or an elderly parent for whom the victim is a caregiver. These individuals living at the same residence as the survivor may now also apply to use the same confidential address. 

Allowing these additional individuals to also shield their address from disclosure is necessary to ensure that an abuser or predator can not use the traditional public address information of a known co-resident to locate the primary participant in the Safe at Home Program. 

“This program was created to empower Safe at Home participants to continue living their lives as survivors,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. “We take our duty to protect all vulnerable Tennesseans very seriously and expanding these eligibility requirements will ensure that any side doors are permanently closed off to abusers and predators attempting to revictimize our Safe at Home survivors. I am grateful for Senator Stevens’ and Representative Farmer’s support of our initiative.”

“The Safe at Home Program is a critical tool to help protect victims of domestic violence,” said Sen. Stevens. “I was very pleased to partner with Secretary Hargett and Representative Farmer to help these victims by expanding the program to provide further protections that will keep them safe.”

“Closing this loophole for criminals to access the information of victims is incredibly important to protecting the innocent from those who may wish to do them harm,” said Rep. Farmer. “Especially for those who have already experienced trauma, it is our job at the state to do everything we can to serve as a wall of protection between them and criminals.”