USA: New Online Safety Planning Program for Domestic Violence Victims
Tuesday, August 10, 2010 4:45 PM

A new “decision-aid” program developed by the University of Missouri creates an online space for domestic violence victims to access help. This online program is designed to “help women think through their decisions, make more informed decisions, and decrease decisional conflict – that sort of feeling like they don’t know what to do, what their options are, or where to look for help, “ according to Tina Bloom of Sinclair School of Nursing at the University of Missouri.


Women can go online, fill out the questionnaire, and then receive an individualized safety plan generated from their answers. What makes this program unique is that the indivual safety plan includes an analysis of the severity of the woman's situation. Based on the woman's personal situation, the safety plan also contains information like what to do with children when violence occurs, establishing a safe haven to turn to, and storing away money for emergencies. Finally, the safety plan will also have more information on legal and community resources for the women.


The decision-aid program serves as an alternative resource for women without access to customary help like shelters and clinics or who wish to maintain complete anonymity. The online format allows anyone with secure internet access the opportunity to learn about their options. In addition, the program will be soon be more accessible, as it will have kiosks available at local hospitals, physicians’ offices, libraries, and mental health care facilities.


The hope is that women will be confident in knowing what their options are after creating a safety plan, which was supported by the pilot program. Tina Bloom noted that  “By making help easily accessible, we can improve women’s health outcomes."


Compiled from, Decision-aid program increases safety for abused women,, (28 July 2010) and Use of Decision-Aid Program Increases Safety for Women Experiencing Abuse, MU Researchers Find, New Bureau University of Missouri (27 July 2010).