What is the history of Domestic Violence Awareness Month?
*Adapted from the 1996 Domestic Violence Awareness Month Resource Manual of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) evolved from the “Day of Unity” held in October 1981 and conceived by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The intent was to connect advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and their children.
The Day of Unity soon became an entire week devoted to a range of activities conducted at the local, state, and national levels. The activities conducted were as varied and diverse as the program sponsors but had common themes:
- Mourning those who have died because of domestic violence
- Celebrating those who have survived
- Connecting those who work to end violence
These three themes remain a key focus of DVAM events today. In October 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed. That same year marks the initiation of the first national domestic violence toll-free hotline. In 1989, the U.S. Congress passed Public Law 101-112 designating October of that year as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Such legislation has passed every year since with NCADV providing key leadership in this effort. Each year, the Day of Unity is celebrated the first Monday of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Domestic Violence Awareness Events
About Week Without Violence
YWCA is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help families, and strengthen communities. For more than 20 years, we have set aside one week in October as a Week Without Violence – a week to raise awareness and engage action to end the broad spectrum of violence – as part of a global movement with World YWCA to end violence against women and girls.
At YWCA, we know that not all violence is acknowledged or responded to equally and that some victims go unrecognized altogether. That’s why, for the last several years, we have focused on ending gender-based violence, including domestic violence, intimate partner violence, sexual assault, trafficking, and harassment.
We invite you to join us from October 18 – 24 as we share information, elevate stories, talk with policymakers, and raise awareness with a common goal in mind: together, we can end gender-based violence.