October is recognized as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM). Domestic Violence Awareness Month evolved from the first Day of Unity observed in October 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV). The intent was to connect battered women’s advocates across the nation who was working to end violence against women and their children. The Day of Unity soon became a special week when a wide range of activities was conducted at the local, state, and national levels. Although these activities were varied and diverse as the programs sponsors they all shared these common themes: Mourning those who died as a result of domestic violence, celebrating those who have survived domestic violence, and connecting those who work to end domestic violence.
In October 1987, the first national Domestic Violence Awareness Month was held. In conjunction, the same year the first national toll-free hotline was begun. In 1989, Congress passed the first DVAM commemorative legislation and it has been passed every year since. The Day of Unity is now celebrated the first Monday in October.
Every October, hundreds of DVAM activities are planned across the nation. National, statewide, and community based domestic violence prevention and victim service organizations mark DVAM with recognition ceremonies, memorial activities, and public education campaigns, community outreach events, news conferences and much more. (Adapted From National Resource Center’s DVAM Tips Tactics and Resources 2001)