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October 2020: Domestic Violence Awareness Month

By Emily Morris, MSWI

The month of October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM). Started over 35 years ago by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, DVAM is dedicated to increasing awareness around domestic violence and supporting individuals who have been impacted by intimate partner abuse. Additionally, this month provides a platform to share resources and knowledge while also inspiring social change around domestic violence.

More than 12 million people around the globe experience domestic partner violence every year. These individuals are at much greater risk of struggling with physical and/or mental health challenges. Over the past several months, during the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a significant rise in domestic violence. This has been due to increased time spent at home trapped with abusers, social isolation, financial strain, difficult quarantine conditions, and additional stressors.

We at Refresh want to provide you with tangible ways to support survivors and spread awareness of domestic violence.

1. Educate yourself. Education is crucial to spread awareness and help prevent future domestic violence. Knowledge about domestic violence will not only help you better identify and understand the signs of intimate partner abuse, but also allow you to better support survivors. Below are some resources below that can help you get started:

2. Wear purple on October 22, 2020 to show support. Thursday, October 22, 2020 is #PurpleThursday. Purple Thursday is an annual day of recognition and support for domestic violence survivors. Wear a purple item of clothing on this day and use the hashtag #PurpleThursday on social media to spread awareness.

3. Share the hotline number. Sharing resources is an important part of spreading awareness and being an advocate to survivors who may need help and support. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is a free, confidential service for survivors to access support and safety planning resources. By sharing the hotline number not only do you show your support to survivors, but you may also be providing an important resource for someone during a time of need.

Call: 1-800-799-7233; Text: 1-800-787-3224

4. Show emotional support. Surviving an abusive relationship is a traumatic experience. You can help provide emotional support to survivors by listening empathetically, validating and acknowledging their experiences, remaining nonjudgmental and noncritical if they share their story, and offering to help them find additional resources or services.

Domestic Violence Resources:

If you are a survivor of domestic violence, or know someone who is experiencing domestic violence in their home, we have included resources to help support you below:

National Domestic Violence Hotline: This is a free, confidential 24/7 service that provides support and resources to survivors, as well as concerned friends and family. You can speak with someone over the phone, text, or live chat for help with creating a safety plan.

Call: 1-800-799-7233; Text: 1-800-787-3224

New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence: This resource provides local services to domestic violence survivors and their children. Available 24/7, services may include access to shelter and safety, advocacy, safety planning, counseling, support groups, housing support, transportation assistance, health services, legal assistance, children’s programs, and more.

New York State Hotline: 1-800-942-6906; New York City Hotline: 1-800-621-4673

Women’sLaw.org: This service provides plain-language, legal information to domestic violence survivors. Despite its name, this resource is available to all individuals, not just women. Contact WomensLaw through the Email Hotline.

Please share this article with family and friends to continue spreading awareness about domestic violence.