In 1994 former President Bill Clinton signed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). It became a landmark piece of legislation that sought to improve criminal justice and community-based responses to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking in the United States.” VAWA allowed for the creation of The National Domestic Hotline, which served its 4 millionth contact in 2016.
One resource the hotline offers is called a safety plan.
According to the hotline, “A safety plan is a personalized, practical plan that includes ways to remain safe while in a relationship, planning to leave, or after you leave.”
Safety planning is a way for individuals to deal with the entirety of a potentially abusive relationship. It involves communication with family and friends as well as other steps such as legal action that could keep all parties safe from harm.
According to the hotline, “we safety plan with victims, friends and family members — anyone who is concerned about their own safety or the safety of someone else.”
The hotline ensures an effective safety plan gathers all important details to fit an individual’s situation and helps implement them through different situations.
According to the hotline, “although some of the things that you outline in your safety plan may seem obvious, it’s important to remember that in moments of crisis your brain doesn’t function the same way as when you are calm. When adrenaline is pumping through your veins, it can be hard to think clearly or make logical decisions about your safety. Having a safety plan laid out in advance can help you to protect yourself in those stressful moments.”