Hotline Phone Numbers

Domestic Violence Hotline:
800.621.HOPE (4673)

Crime Victims Hotline:
866.689.HELP (4357)

Rape & Sexual Assault Hotline:

TDD phone number for all hotlines:

History of Domestic Violence

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(From the Office of Violence Against Women (OVW), U.S. Department of Justice)

1871 Alabama becomes the first state to repeal the legal right of a husband to beat his wife.

Safe Horizon Domestic Violence Shelter

1967 One of the first domestic violence shelters opens in Maine.

1972 The first emergency rape crisis hotline opens in Washington, DC

1975 Pennsylvania creates the first state coalition against sexual assault (Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape). A year later, Pennsylvania also becomes home to the first state coalition against domestic violence (Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence) and to provide orders of protection for battered women.

1977 The first program for men who batter, Emerge, is founded in Massachusetts.

1981 The first annual Domestic Violence Awareness Week takes place.

Duluth Power and Control Wheel1984 The Duluth Project ("Power and Control" Wheel) is formed and pioneers the first coordinated criminal justice response model to domestic violence.

1984 The U.S. Department of Justice establishes the Task Force on Family Violence and submits the first-ever report that examines the scope and impact of domestic violence in America.

1986 U.S Surgeon General C. Everett Koop recognizes domestic violence as a public health issue.

1990 U.S. Senator Joseph Biden introduces first Violence Against Women Act.

1994 U.S. Senator Joseph Biden sponsors Violence Against Women Act legislation as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. In September, VAMA as part of the VCCLEA Act is signed into law.

1995 U.S. President Bill Clinton appoints Bonnie Campbell to head the Department of Justice's Violence Against Women Policy Office (VAWO).

Rotary phone stock xchng1996 The National Domestic Violence Hotline begins operating and receives its first call on February 21st.

2000 President Clinton signs the Violence Against Women Act of 2000 into law.

2006 U.S. President George W. Bush signs the Violence Against Women Act of 2005 into law.

2007 National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline begins operating and receives first call in February.

2009 U.S. President Barack Obama becomes first president to declare April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

2012 - ?

What's Next?

You can help determine the next important moment. Join Safe Horizon in support of victims and survivors, organizations, and laws working to make domestic violence history.

Learn more about domestic violence and how Safe Horizon helps victims and survivors.

Download the Power and Control Wheel diagram from the Duluth Project.

Download Safe Horizon's Stop the Abuse tipcard - and share.

Support victims and survivors of domestic violence with a gift today to Safe Horizon.


U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Violence Against Women: History of the Violence Against Women Act

Return to the Safe Horizon Women's History Month homepage.

Safe Horizon's mission is to provide support, prevent violence and promote justice for victims of crime and abuse, their families and communities.

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