Domestic violence, or intimate partner abuse, refers to patterns of behavior used to gain power and control over a partner in an intimate relationship. Domestic violence does not discriminate. Abuse happens to persons from a wide range of ages and backgrounds.

The first Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) was observed in 1987, more than 30 years ago. This month is a time to mourn victims, celebrate survivors, raise awareness, and connect to others involved in prevention and response.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) created a “Day of Unity” event that later evolved into the October awareness month.

Here are some of the notable accomplishments since the first observation:

  • The American Medical Association and the U.S. Surgeon General decided in 1992 to begin screening all adult female patients for domestic abuse.
  • The National Resource Center on Domestic Violence was created in 1993.
  • In 1994 Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). It was reauthorized in 2000, 2005, and 2013.
  • The Violence Against Women Office in the U.S. Department of Justice was formed as a result of the Violence Against Women Act.
  • Also in 1994, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Ms. Magazine created the Remember My Name Project, which recognizes victims of domestic homicide. The project was named after a poem written by Kimberly A. Collins.
  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline opened in 1996.
  • The National Directory of Domestic Violence Programs was released in 2008, containing information from more than 2,000 organizations.

Take the time this month to become more knowledgeable about domestic violence regarding recognizing warning signs, prevention, and resources. Blogs, social media, and events on campus supporting domestic violence education will be available throughout the month of October.