Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) evolved from the “Day of Unity” held in October 1981 and conceived by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. 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 level. 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
  • Connecting those who work to end violence

These three themes remain a key focus of DVAM events today. 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.

—Adapted from the 1996 Domestic Violence Awareness Month Resource Manual of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

 On September 30, 2013, the President of the United States declared a proclamation for this year’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Below is an excerpt, but can also be read in its entirety, here:

“Ending violence in the home is a national imperative that requires vigilance and dedication from every sector of our society. We must continue to stand alongside advocates, victim service providers, law enforcement, and our criminal justice system as they hold offenders accountable and provide care and support to survivors. But our efforts must extend beyond the criminal justice system to include housing and economic advocacy for survivors. We must work with young people to stop violence before it starts. We must also reach out to friends and loved ones who have suffered from domestic violence, and we must tell them they are not alone. I encourage victims, their loved ones, and concerned citizens to learn more by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE, or by visiting

This October, let us honor National Domestic Violence Awareness Month by promoting peace in our own families, homes, and communities. Let us renew our commitment to end domestic violence — in every city, every town, and every corner of America.”

Domestic violence is also a growing problem in Bergen County, and the need for services for those in crisis continues to mount.  To meet these demands, Center for Hope & Safety (Center for Hope & Safety), has launched “Building for the Future: Safety, Strength and Hope,” a capital campaign to raise $2 million. The funds will go toward the purchase and renovation of a facility in Rochelle Park that will serve as agency headquarters and a hub for all the non-emergency services Center for Hope & Safety provides.

 The Capital Campaign is considered the most significant journey of growth since Center for Hope & Safety was founded 37 years ago. Since that time, Center for Hope & Safety has offered refuge to thousands of women and children by providing a diversified continuum of services that focus on attaining safety, empowerment, and self-sufficiency.  Center for Hope & Safety’s life-saving programs for domestic violence victims in Bergen County include:  a 24-hour hotline; a confidential emergency shelter; transitional housing; crisis counseling; case management; children’s programming; legal assistance; Hispanic outreach; financial literacy and work-readiness training; follow-up services; assistance to abused elderly and disabled persons; and community education to increase awareness of domestic violence.

 Support from the community for this campaign will help Center for Hope & Safety fulfill its mission of helping women and children victims of DV rebuild their lives.  

To donate to “Building for the Future” campaign click “Donate”