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 common themes for this month of remembrance include:

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

In October 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed. In 1989  Congress passed Public Law 101-112 designating October of that year as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Such legislation has passed every year since.