Awareness Months

Intimate partner violence, sexual violence, dating violence, and stalking happens each and every day.  The number of people affected by these types of violence and the impact these types of violence can have on victims, friends, and families, are of epic proportions.  In effort to raise awareness of these types of violence, and to commemorate the many people who have been affected by such violence, the President has proclaimed January to be National Stalking Awareness Month, February to be National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, April to be National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and October to be National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Congress declared September to be National Campus Safety Awareness Month in 2008.

National Stalking Awareness Month (January)

January is National Stalking Awareness Month.  The commemorative month was born from the tragic death of Peggy Klinke, a woman who was murdered by a stalker in 2003.  Debbie Riddle, Peggy Klinke’s sister, reached out to the Stalking Resource Center to ask how she could help improve law enforcement’s response to stalking.  That one call was the impetus for a series of events, which ultimately led to a Congressional resolution on stalking.  In January 2004, the National Center for Victims of Crime launched the very first National Stalking Awareness Month and has been supporting communities across the country in their stalking awareness activities ever since.

Visit National Stalking Awareness Month to learn more.  The National Stalking Awareness Month website is sponsored by the Stalking Resource Center, National Center for Victims of Crime, and the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice.

National Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Month (February)

National Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Month is a national effort to raise awareness about dating violence in teen and young adult relationships.  Young people across the country have been working for years to end dating violence.  Advocates and other key stakeholders in the violence against women movement took note and urged Congress to include the issue of teen dating violence in the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act of 2005.  In 2006, Congress dedicated the first full week of February as National Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Week.  In 2010, Congress extended the weeklong commemoration to span the entire month of February.

To learn more about National Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Month, visit TeenDV month.  The TeenDV month website is sponsored by Break the Cycle and Love is Respect. The website offers a number of resources for teens, students, advocates, educators, and others take action and promote awareness of teen dating violence in their communities.

National Sexual Assault Awareness Month (April)

While organized protests against sexual violence and other violence against women have taken place for many years, it wasn’t until the early 1980s – with October being designated as Domestic Violence Awareness Month – that these activities started to become more coordinated.  In the late 1980s, sexual assault advocates and anti-sexual violence activists followed suit and designated one week in April as Sexual Assault Awareness Week.  By the late 1990s, advocates were coordinating activities to raise awareness of sexual assault throughout the entire month of April and National Sexual Assault Month was born.

To learn more about National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, visit the National Sexual Violence Resources Center’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month webpage. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center hosts the national Sexual Assault Awareness Month campaign, providing information and materials for upcoming and past campaigns to state, territory, tribal, and local organizations and groups working to promote sexual assault awareness in their own communities.

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month (October)

Domestic Violence Awareness Month evolved from the first Day of Unity, celebrated over 30 years ago.  In October 1981, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence observed the first Day of Unity to unite advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and children.  The Day of Unity soon stretched to a weeklong occasion recognized by a variety of activities and events occurring at the local, state, and national levels.  The violence against women movement observed its first Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October 1987.  In 1989, Congress officially dedicated October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month and has passed legislation doing so every year thereafter.  Although Domestic Violence Awareness Month has become the more celebrated national observance, we still celebrate the Day of Unity on the first Monday of each October.

To learn more about National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, visit the Domestic Violence Awareness Project.  The Domestic Violence Awareness Project is a project of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence.