Domestic Violence Awareness Month - The History

September 30, 2022 | by: Cesar J Segura

Domestic Violence Awareness Month - The History

Evolving over the last 41 years, Domestic Violence Awareness Month (often referred to as DVAM), has evolved to become a yearly awareness campaign. Throughout the years, it has been designed to increase awareness for survivors of domestic violence, honor those who lost their lives to domestic violence, and increase the prevention of domestic violence across our country. Originally titled as the “Day of Unity”, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence began celebrating one day in October to connect advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and children. Within the next few years, the Day of Unity quickly merged to include events throughout an entire week across the nation.

Beginning in 1987, the first full month of activities was observed in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness. 1987 also marks the first domestic violence toll-free hotline in the United States. Quickly following the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Congress passed Public Law 101-112 officially designating October as the National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. 33 years later, Domestic Violence Awareness Month is still being honored across the country. Additionally, the Day of Unity is still honored within the month on the first Monday of every October to connect advocates. Organizations across the country conduct events and provide supplies in a deep purple (the month’s awareness color) in honor of those who have lost their lives to domestic violence, those who have survived, and in recognition of efforts to prevent further domestic violence.


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This website was produced by the Cahuilla Consortium under grant award #2019-VO-GX-0010, awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed on this website are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.