Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) evolved from the Day of Unity conceived by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence in October 1981. The goal 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, and the first national domestic violence toll-free hotline was established. In 1989, Congress passed Public Law 101-112 designating October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Such legislation has passed every year since.
— Adapted from the 1996 Domestic Violence Awareness Month Resource Manual of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence by the Domestic Violence Awareness Project.