October was Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October was Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The event was conceived by the National Coalition against Domestic Violence in 1981, with the intent of setting aside October to link advocates across the nation to end violence against women and children. The themes of this advocacy period are:


  • Mourning those who have died because of domestic violence
  • Celebrating those who have survived
  • Connecting those who work to end violence


The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) joins the nation in bringing awareness to the effort to prevent the horrors of domestic violence.


We should be reminded that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), someone is physically abused by an intimate partner every 20 minutes. On an annual basis, over 10 million people experience domestic violence. Although incidents occur among all races, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, ages, and levels of socioeconomic status, over 85 percent of reported victims are women.


Domestic Violence Month puts us on notice that the nation must mobilize public and private resources to prevent and eventually greatly reduce incidents of intimate partner violence. Social workers and other professions that work with victims of domestic violence have a challenge to advocate for services, policies, and legislation that offer protections for those at-risk of being physically and mentally traumatized by this threat.


Advocates will need to be prepared to actively support reauthorization of the Violence against Women Act of 2018 (VAWA). This critical legislation-which has been in place since 1994-is up for reauthorization in FY 2018. Once introduced, NASW and many other national organizations will be asked to work individually and in coalition to ensure that VAWA is reauthorized and fully funded. We all must commit to reaching out to our members of Congress to ensure passage of VAWA for another five years.


Social workers have long been important and critical voices in the fight to end domestic violence. As we pay attention to domestic violence each October, we challenge all social workers to continue to find ways that they can be impactful on this issue.



Resources for Information on Domestic Violence


National Coalition against Domestic Violence



U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence against Women https://www.justice.gov/ovw/domestic-violence


CDC Violence Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/index.html


NASW Press



National Network to End Domestic Violence


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