-A A +A

Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM)

Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) evolved from the "Day of Unity" in October 1981 conceived by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV). 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, and connecting those who work to end violence.

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.

Many domestic violence programs were designed to serve the needs of younger survivors and have not traditionally served individuals age 50 and older. Older survivors benefit from many of the services offered by these programs such as: individual and peer counseling; support groups; emergency and transitional housing; economic and legal advocacy; and medical accompaniment. Unfortunately, many older women do not consider calling a hotline to talk to a stranger about personal, private family matters and may be uncomfortable working with young staff. 

NCALL has compiled some information to assist advocates in creating or enhancing their services to meet the needs of older survivors. To learn more, please visit: http://ncall.us/advocacy/information-dv-and-sa-programs and http://ncall.us/advocacy/working-older-victims.

2016 Presidential Proclamation – National Domestic Violence Month, 2016


October 4: 7th National Call of Unity: Healing the Heart of the Movement - Join the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence on Tuesday, October 4, 2016 at 3:00 pm Eastern as they commemorate the beginning of the National Domestic Violence Awareness Month with the National Call of Unity! On this annual, free 45-minute call, they intend to lift up resiliency and wellness as a transformative response to the violence and trauma experienced by our communities. The Call of Unity will bring together national organizers, government officials, advocates, and survivors to talk about the ways we can achieve lasting healing and justice, through transformative social change. Each year hundreds of individuals join the call, with many more listening together in community based organizations, counseling centers, domestic violence programs, rape crisis centers, at school or at home. Join in to remember those that have lost their lives to violence, celebrate those that have survived these senseless acts, and connect with others to stay strong in the movement.

October 5: National Domestic Violence Hotline Webinar: Conversations with Survivors: Sharing Stories and Learning How We Can Help
Domestic violence, or relationship abuse, affects 12 million people in the United States each year. From what you see, read or hear in the media, it can seem like an issue that only affects certain types of people. The truth is there is no typical case. Domestic violence can affect anyone, regardless of age, race, gender, or background, and the experience is different for every survivor. In this webinar, survivors will share their unique stories and experiences, as well as what helped them and what did not. We’ll also discuss ways to support the survivor in your life. 2pm ET.

October 11: #DVAM2016 Webinar - Self-Care is Essential to Trauma Informed Advocacy
This webinar will offer strategies for dealing with daily work related stress, increase awareness of the issue of vicarious trauma, and provide ideas in order to gain organizational support to help sustain and support those working with survivors of trauma. 3:00-4:30 pm ET. 

October 16-22: NNEDV's Week of Action - The National Network to End Domestic Violence offers daily activities to help individuals and organizations get involved in DVAM 2016.

October 18: #WhyICare Campaign & Twitter Chat Join the #WhyICare Twitter Chat to help us honor our history, discover our present, and explore our future with renewed passion. Co-hosted by National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV), National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) and National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV). 3:00-4:00 pm ET. 

October 20:  Go Purple for #PurpleThursday Wear or display purple to raise awareness, show your solidarity with survivors & their families, and take a stand against domestic violence.

October 25: #DVAM2016 Webinar - Girls for Gender Equity: Centering Girls of Color within the Racial and Gender Justice Movement of the 21st Century Get inspired and activated as webinar presenters share their radical and visionary approaches to promoting racial and gender justice and the critical importance it has to addressing and preventing domestic and sexual violence. Joanne N. Smith will discuss her work to create a New York City Young Women’s Initiative and inspire national intergenerational advocacy. Kelly Miller will share the transformational intersectional work of the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence in centering their work on the liberation of the last girl, the most marginalized communities. 3:00-4:30 pm ET. 

October 27: National Domestic Violence Hotline Facebook Live Event
In this Facebook Live event, Hotline advocates will be sharing their experiences and answering questions about their work. 2 pm ET.

Ideas for Domestic Violence Awareness Month Event and Program Planning

  • Involve older survivors and individuals in your event and program planning.
  • Hold events in accessible locations.
  • Use graphics on your website or blog that depict older individuals.
  • Share messaging about abuse in later life. NCALL created web graphics and posters for individual programs to use to enhance prevention and awareness efforts. NCALL created a video with support from the No More campaign to commemorate Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) and raise the visibility of the issue of abuse in later life. You can view the video right here: http://youtu.be/bPn0lu014AM.
  • Use larger fonts on all your handouts and publications
  • Post event information in locations frequented by older individuals.
  • Have older survivors tell their story of survival and how your program was there to help. Please visit NCALL's Older Survivor Stories webpage to learn more.  
  • Send a special invitation to individuals who work in elder abuse and aging services.