October Marks Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Published on September 30, 2016

ARLINGTON, Va. — October marks Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the Arlington County Police Department has partnered with Doorways for Women and Families, our community advocate, to bring attention to this worthy cause.

During the month of October a purple ribbon, donated by Doorways, will be displayed on many Arlington County Police Department vehicles in support of the efforts to reduce the incidence and severity of domestic violence in our community.

In 2015, officers with Arlington County Police Department were dispatched to 2,223 incidents that were domestic violence in nature. Of those incidents, police made 214 arrests for domestic assault. "Eliminating domestic violence requires collaborative prevention and response efforts and the Police Department believes the partnership with Doorways is a step in that direction," comments M. Jay Farr, Chief of Police.

Doorways for Women and Families is a nonprofit, community service organization that creates pathways out of homelessness, domestic violence and sexual assault leading to safe, stable and empowered lives. Last year, Doorways' Domestic Violence Safehouse provided emergency shelter to 42 adults and 38 children escaping violence. Their Court Advocacy program helped 365 adults and children gain legal protections to ensure their safety, and the 24-Hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline (703-237-0881) responded to 1,347 callers, impacting 2,206 adults and children. "Calls to our 24-hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline continue to increase, and with the support of our many partners, Doorways is growing to meet the rising need," says Caroline Jones, Doorways President and CEO. "Our critical response now includes REVIVE, a counseling program dedicated to serving survivors of interpersonal violence and sexual assault in our community, in addition to hospital accompaniment for survivors of sexual assault, emergency shelter and comprehensive services."

Domestic Violence Awareness Month evolved from the "Day of Unity" held in 1981. The intent was to connect advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and children. The Day of Unity soon became an entire week devoted to a range of activities conducted at the local, state and national level. The activities conducted had three common themes that remain a key focus to this day: mourning those that have died because of domestic violence; celebrating those who have survived; and connecting those who have worked to end violence.

In October 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed, and in 1989, the United States Congress passed Public Law 101-112 designating October as the official month.