NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – October marks Domestic Violence Awareness Month, but advocates said it’s much more than sharing the stories of those lost and the ones who have survived; it’s also about keeping survivors safe from their abusers.
“I myself am a survivor, so just being able to work with these women, you know powerful women, because we empower them to let them know that there are better days ahead,” said Daffany Baker Ph.D, the vice president of Domestic Violence Services with the YWCA.
The YWCA has been working for 125 years in Middle Tennessee in an effort to help women, girls, and families build safer lives. One of the key pillars is focused on Domestic Violence Services.
Sitting next to Baker sits an example of one tool that often acts as the first line to “peace of mind.”
“We’re able to give that sense of safeness to our survivors with the Ring cameras, so once they do get their new address and their safe home, we can give them a Ring camera to make them feel more comfortable where they are,” explained Baker.
The Metro Office of Family Safety details the impact domestic violence has on victims in Davidson County.
According to the organization, in 2021 there were 11 domestic violence homicides in Nashville. In 2022, that number rose to 18 domestic violence homicides.
“A lot of people don’t know, but Metro receives DV calls like every 20 minutes, and so they ask questions and give them that assessment, and if they score very high, meaning that there’s a chance they may lose their life, they actually contact us,” Baker explained.
Under current Tennessee law, most state and local government records can be easily accessed, including someone’s home address which could make it easier for abusers to find their victims.
“When a survivor does come to us, they want safety, right? It’s our responsibility to provide that safety, so the safe at home program helps us to provide that. It gives them a sense of safeness knowing that their address will not be obtainable by anybody, so their abuser will not be able to find them,” she said.
On Monday, Secretary of State Tre Hargett encouraged domestic violence survivors to protect themselves with the Safe At Home Address Confidentiality Program.
“Victims reach out to us often after becoming participants in the Safe at Home program to let us know this program is providing a tremendous sense of security for them, knowing that they can access the services that they need without disclosing their location,” explained Stacy Scruggs, the Safe at Home program coordinator.
Hargett issued the following statement regarding the program:
“Since we launched the Safe at Home program, we have helped victims all across the state protect themselves from becoming victims again by protecting their address. Any Tennessean who is a victim of domestic violence, stalking, human trafficking or any sexual offense is eligible to take advantage of this free program.”
If you are in danger, need to speak with an advocate, or have general questions about domestic violence, please call the YWCA’s 24-hour Crisis & Support Helpline at 1-800-334-4628, or text 615-983-5170.