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Marking the 17th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) helps us both appreciate the great strides that have been made in addressing all types of violence against women and recognize the fact that more needs to be done to create a society free from domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking.

The concept of a coordinated community response is one of the most critical and visible achievements of VAWA. In the years since VAWA’s enactment by Congress in 1994, we have witnessed a sea-change in the ways that communities respond to domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and dating violence. VAWA encourages communities to bring together stakeholders from diverse backgrounds to share information and to use their distinct roles to improve our responses to and prevention of violence against women. These groups include, but are not limited to: victim advocates, police officers, prosecutors, judges, probation and corrections officials, health care professionals, leaders within faith communities, and survivors of violence. New programs and amendments have strengthened the law and enhanced our work.

By Presidential Proclamation, October has been declared the National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Add your voice to putting an end to violence against women. Specific opportunities are available in many communities during the four observance months:

  • October - Domestic Violence Month
  • January - Stalking Awareness Month
  • February - Teen Dating Violence Month
  • April - Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Please remember all those in need of assistance, or other concerned friends and individuals, to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE or the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE. For more information about OVW or these awareness months, please visit www.ovw.usdoj.gov.