October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM). Domestic violence is a serious violent crime that includes both physical and emotional abuse. It is frequently hidden from public view. Many victims suffer in silence, afraid to seek help or not knowing where to turn. The traumatic effects of domestic violence also extend beyond the abused person, impacting family members and communities. Children often witness the violence or become victims themselves. Stalking is a common and very dangerous tactic used by perpetrators of domestic violence, and can pose challenges for victims seeking help.
As part of the effort to stop this horrific crime, the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) announced 54 grants totaling $32 million through its Improving the Criminal Justice Response to Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking Program. These grants will support coordinated community responses and collaborative initiatives to provide victim services and hold offenders accountable.
OVW has also awarded over $35 million in grant awards through the Grants to Indians Tribal Governments Program (Tribal Governments Program) in support of American Indian and Alaska Native communities to increase tribal capacity to respond to domestic violence. OVW’s Tribal Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys (Tribal SAUSAs) program is also being relaunched, which, when piloted, saw successes that included greater accountability for violence-against-women-related crimes in Indian country.
In addition, OVW will join federal partners in honoring and raising awareness for DVAM. On October 23rd at 3:00pm EST, OVW and the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) will be hosting a joint webinar on substance use and intimate partner violence, exploring how the opioid epidemic has intersected with those affected by domestic violence and offering strategies to face this challenge.
Numerous victim advocate organizations will also be hosting activities to support DVAM awareness, including the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence’s launch of the ACF-funded #1Thing initiative to promote shared resources for survivors, take action and make a difference for those affected by domestic violence. #1Thing activities include:
- October 1, 2018: National Call of Unity
- October 6, 2018: National SAF-T Day
- October 10, 2018: National Health Cares About Domestic Violence Day
- October 18, 2018: Purple Thursday
Learn more about these activities and how you can participate by viewing the DVAM federal factsheet.
Many communities throughout the country have developed support networks to assist victims in the process of recovery. If you need assistance or know someone who needs help, find local resources on the OVW map or contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
No person should be subjected to the fear, shame, and humiliation that an abusive relationship produces, and leaving these relationships is not easy. This National Domestic Violence Awareness Month let us take the time to educate ourselves about how to support friends or family members who are fighting to free themselves from abuse and unite to give a voice to those who suffer in silence.