Domestic Violence Awareness & Prevention

In October, we recognize that Domestic Violence exists in All Communities—regardless of race, religion, occupation, educational level, culture, socioeconomic status, or sexual orientation.

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM)

2023 THEME: #DVAM #1Thing #TakeAStand #Every1KnowsSome1

Domestic Violence (DV) touches every community in this Nation. Americans of every race, religion, and background are affected; its consequences transcend generations, impacting children and reshaping whole families.

During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), we stand with the tens of millions of people who have experienced Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), and we thank the first responders, service providers, and community members who work to make sure that every American can live in safety, with dignity and respect.

Learn more about how you can change the social norms that permit domestic violence, provide meaningful support to survivors, and express gratitude to those working diligently on prevention and response efforts.  

Together, we can transform our country and build a Nation where all people live free from violence. 

DVAM #PurpleThursday

Thursday, October 19 (ALL DAY)

Join HIPRC in observing National Domestic Violence Awareness Day (also known as Purple Thursday), a national event organized by the DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence. To participate, wear the color purple to show your support for those who have experienced domestic violence and abuse. Please share this event with friends, family, and community. Learn more >>

Understanding Economic Abuse as a Form of Domestic Violence

Thursday, October 19 at 12:00p (PT)

Economic abuse (also known as financial abuse) is a form of coercion in an intimate relationship that involves maintaining control over financial resources, withholding access to money, or attempting to prevent a partner or family member from working or attending school. Over 90% of family members who have experienced Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) have also experienced economic abuse.

In this webinar, we’re discussing how Head Start programs can support families, especially those at risk for economic abuse, by integrating family economic mobility (FEM) conversations and supports into their family engagement strategies. 

Key Topics include:

  • Definitions of domestic violence, IPV, and economic abuse to understand the cyclical nature of domestic violence and its impact on children and families.
  • Connections between increasing FEM supports and preventing economic abuse.
  • Strategies Head Start and Early Head Start programs can integrate FEM approaches into their programming.

This webinar is offered with simultaneous interpretation in Spanish. Learn more >>

(SOLD OUT) 2023 National Conference on Domestic Violence

Sunday, October 22 – Wednesday, October 25

Connecting survivors, advocates, and allies nationwide to each other in uplifting domestic violence survivors! This conference is presented by the National Domestic Violence Hotline (NCADV). Hosted at The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. Learn more >>

Attend the SAMHSA-funded National Training and Technical Assistance Center for Child, Youth, and Family Mental Health (NTTAC) Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) Awareness Month Series

Sessions will be held every Monday throughout October at 11:00a (PT).

To Register (for all sessions):

  • October 23: Supporting Systems to Support Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence
  • October 30: Best Practices for Mental Health Clinicians: How to Help Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence

DVAM: Owning Your Story, Claiming Your Power

October 30 11:00 am – 12:30 pm (PT)

Join us as we wrap up Domestic Violence Action Month (DVAM)—Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV) is providing this webinar to help you as advocates and social change agents learn how we can raise up an army of inspired storytellers to empower survivors, as well as change the culture that supports the destructive conditions of coercion and dominance in our communities. Register today >>

Attend a Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) event

Check out the HHS Administration for Children and Families Office of Family Violence Prevention and Services calendar of events and resources >>

Change can start with only #1Thing

One person’s actions may seem insignificant, but together a communities’ collective One Things can lead to real social transformation.

Awareness + Action = Social Change:

  • The #1Thing that will end domestic violence is our collective power.
  • Healing from domestic violence requires our collective One Things.
  • We can all do #1Thing towards eradicating domestic violence.
  • Sharing our stories can have a ripple effect and can inspire others to action.
  • Our collective One Things are valuable for systems advocacy.
  • #1Thing offers the community tangible ways to get involved in the effort to end domestic violence.

Take action today >>

Source: Domestic Violence Awareness Project (DVAP)

Mayor Bruce Harrell and City Council proclaimed October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Seattle to encourage all Seattle residents to recognize the signs of abuse and coercion and work to make this city a place where domestic violence does not exist.

Download & Share (PDF)

Source: City of Seattle, Human Services Department (HSD)

What is Domestic Violence (DV)?

Domestic Violence (DV) is a serious public health problem that affects millions of Americans. It is both common and preventable.

DV (commonly referred to as intimate partner violence, or IPV) involves abuse or aggression in a romantic relationship:

  • An intimate partner can be a current or former spouse or a dating partner.
  • DV can occur among heterosexual or same-sex couples and does not require sexual intimacy.
  • DV can happen one time or many times over a period of years.

What is Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)?

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is abuse or aggression that occurs in a romantic relationship. “Intimate partner” refers to both current and former spouses and dating partners.

IPV can vary in how often it happens and how severe it is. It can range from one episode of violence that could have lasting impact to chronic and severe episodes over multiple years. 

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Forms of Domestic Violence

Physical abuse is a powerful way that an abusive person gets and keeps their partner under control and it instills an environment of constant fear. While physical abuse is most commonly known, it may or may not be a part of an abusive relationship. If physical abuse is present early in the relationship, it commonly gets worse over time. If there is no physical abuse in the relationship, it may begin to occur when the victim is pregnant or when the victim is considering leaving the relationship.

Physical abuse may include:

  • hitting
  • punchin
  • slapping
  • strangling
  • smothering
  • using or threatening to use weapons
  • shoving
  • interrupting your sleep
  • throwing things
  • destroying property
  • hurting or killing pets
  • denying medical treatment

Sources: National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) and the National Domestic Violence Hotline

Some forms of sexual abuse (also known as sexual coercion) are common in relationships, but it is often the least discussed. It can be subtle or overt. The impact on the victim is commonly feelings of shame and humiliation.

Sexual abuse or coercion may include:

  • physically forcing sex
  • making you feel fearful about saying no to sex
  • forcing sex with other partners
  • forcing you to participate in demeaning or degrading sexual acts
  • violence or name calling during sex
  • denying contraception or protection from sexually transmitted diseases

Sources: National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) and the National Domestic Violence Hotline

Emotional abuse occurs in some form in all abusive relationships. It is a very effective tactic used by abusive partners to obtain power and control and it can cause extreme damage to the victim’s self-esteem. Commonly, emotional abuse makes the victim feel like they are responsible for the abuse and to feel crazy, worthless and hopeless. It is so damaging that many survivors of domestic violence report that they would have rather “be hit” than endure the ongoing psychic damage of emotional abuse.

Emotional abuse may include:

  • constant put downs or criticisms
  • name calling
  • “crazy making”
  • acting superior
  • minimizing the abuse or blaming you for their behavior
  • threatening and making you feel fearful
  • isolating you from family and friends
  • excessive jealously, accusing you of having affairs
  • watching where you go and who you talk to

Sources: National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) and the National Domestic Violence Hotline

Financial abuse (also known as economic abuse) is one of the least commonly known forms of abuse—but one of the most powerful tactics of entrapping a victim in a relationship. It is so powerful that many victims of financial abuse describe it as the main reason that they stayed in an abusive relationship, or went back to one.

Some forms of financial abuse may include:

  • giving you an allowance
  • not letting you have your own money
  • hiding family assets
  • running up debt
  • interfering with your job
  • ruining your credit

Sources: National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) and the National Domestic Violence Hotline

Digital abuse is the use of technology and the Internet to bully, harass, stalk, intimidate, or control a partner. This behavior is often a form of verbal or emotional abuse conducted online. 

Some forms of digital abuse may include:

  • Telling you who you can or can’t follow or be friends with on social media.
  • Sending you negative, insulting, or threatening messages or emails.
  • Using social media to track your activities.
  • Insulting or humiliating you in their posts online, including posting unflattering photos or videos.
  • Sending, requesting, or pressuring you to send unwanted explicit photos or videos, sexts, or otherwise compromising messages.
  • Stealing or insisting on being given your account passwords.
  • Constantly texting you or making you feel like you can’t be separated from your phone for fear that you’ll anger them.
  • Looking through your phone or checking up on your pictures, texts, and phone records.
  • Using any kind of technology (such as spyware or GPS in a car or phone) to monitor your activities.
  • Using smart home technology, smart speakers, or security cameras to track your movements, communications, and activities.
  • Creating fake social media profiles in your name and image or using your phone or email to send messages to others pretending to be you, as a way to embarrass or isolate you.

Things to consider when dealing with digital abuse:

  • You never have to share your passwords.
  • You don’t have to send any explicit pictures, videos, or messages that you’re uncomfortable sending (“sexting”).
  • Sexting can have legal consequences: nude photos or videos of someone under the age of 18 could be considered child pornography, which is illegal to own or distribute.
  • It’s okay to turn off your phone or not respond to messages right away. You have the right to your privacy. (Be sure that the people who might need to reach you in an emergency still can.)
  • Save or document threatening messages, photos, videos, or voicemails as evidence of abuse.
  • Don’t answer calls from unknown or blocked numbers; your abuser may try calling you from another line if they suspect that you’re avoiding them. Find out if your phone company allows you to block numbers (and how many, if so).
  • Once you share a post or message, it’s no longer under your control. Abusive partners may save or forward anything you share, so be careful sending content you wouldn’t want others to see.
  • Know and understand your privacy settings. Social media platforms allow users to control how their information is shared and who sees it. These settings are often customizable and may be found in the privacy section of the website. Know that some apps may require you to change your privacy settings in order to use them.
  • Be mindful when checking-in places online, either by sharing your location in a post or posting a photo with distinguishable backgrounds.
  • Ask your friends to always seek permission from you before posting content that could compromise your privacy. Do the same for them.
  • Avoid contact with your abuser in any capacity, through technology, online, or in person. Consider changing your phone number if the abuse and harassment don’t stop.

Sources: National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) and the National Domestic Violence Hotline

Reproductive abuse (also known as reproductive coercion) is a form of power and control where one partner strips another of the ability to control their own reproductive system. It can be difficult to identify this form of coercion because it’s often less visible than other types of abuse occurring at the same time and may appear as pressure, guilt, or shame about having or wanting children (or not having or wanting them).

Some forms of reproductive abuse or coercion may include:

  • Refusing to use a condom or other types of birth control.
  • Breaking or removing a condom before or during sex, or refusing to pull out.
  • Lying about methods of birth control (i.e. having a vasectomy or being on the pill).
  • Removing birth control methods like rings, IUDs, or contraceptive patches, or sabotaging methods by poking holes in condoms or tampering with pills.
  • Withholding money to purchase birth control.
  • Monitoring your menstrual cycles to inform their abuse.
  • Forcing pregnancy or not supporting your decisions about when or if to have children.
  • Intentionally becoming pregnant against your wishes.
  • Forcing you to get an abortion or preventing you from getting one.
  • Threatening you or acting violent if you don’t agree to end or continue a pregnancy.
  • Keeping you pregnant by getting you pregnant again shortly after you have a child.

Sources: National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) and the National Domestic Violence Hotline

Some forms of stalking may include:

  • Showing up at your home or workplace unannounced or uninvited.
  • Sending you unwanted texts, messages, letters, emails, or voicemails.
  • Leaving you unwanted items, gifts, or flowers.
  • Calling you and hanging up repeatedly or making unwanted phone calls to you, your employer, a professor, or a loved one.
  • Using social media or technology to track your activities.
  • Spreading rumors about you online or in person.
  • Manipulating other people to investigate your life, including using someone else’s social media account to look at your profile or befriending your friends in order to get information about you.
  • Waiting around at places you spend time.
  • Damaging your home, car, or other property.
  • Hiring a private investigator to follow or find you as a way of knowing your location or movements.

Sources: National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) and the National Domestic Violence Hotline

Recognize the Warning Signs of Abuse–Know What to Look For.

At the start of a new relationship, it’s not always easy to tell if it will later become abusive. In fact, many abusive people appear like ideal partners in the early stages of a relationship. The warning signs of abuse don’t always appear overnight and may emerge and intensify as the relationship grows.

Yet, every relationship is certainly different, and domestic violence doesn’t always look the same. However, one feature shared by most abusive relationships is that the abusive partner tries to establish or gain power and control through many different methods at different moments.

Source: National Domestic Violence Hotline

Common signs of abusive behavior in a partner include:

  • Telling you that you never do anything right.
  • Showing extreme jealousy of your friends or time spent away from them.
  • Preventing or discouraging you from spending time with others, particularly friends, family members, or peers.
  • Insulting, demeaning, or shaming you, especially in front of other people.
  • Preventing you from making your own decisions, including about working or attending school.
  • Controlling finances in the household without discussion, such as taking your money or refusing to provide money for necessary expenses.
  • Pressuring you to have sex or perform sexual acts you’re not comfortable with.
  • Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol.
  • Intimidating you through threatening looks or actions.
  • Insulting your parenting or threatening to harm or take away your children or pets.
  • Intimidating you with weapons like guns, knives, bats, or mace.
  • Destroying your belongings or your home.

Additionally, even one or two of these behaviors in a relationship is a red flag that abuse may be present.

Sexual Violence

Sexual Violence includes any type of unwanted sexual contact including:

  • sexual assault
  • harassment
  • abuse

Learn more about Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention >>


According to data from the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS):

  • Nearly 1 in 4 women and nearly 1 in 10 men have experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime and reported at least one impact of the violence (like being concerned for their safety).
  • Over 43 million women and about 38 million men experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
  • When IPV occurs in adolescence, it is called Teen Dating Violence (TDV). About 11 million women and 5 million men who reported experiencing contact sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime said that they first experienced these forms of violence before the age of 18.

In Washington state, “41.4 percent of women and 31.7 percent of men experience intimate partner physical violence, rape, and/or stalking in their lifetimes,” according to City of Seattle’s Councilmember Herbold.  

Since its inception in 1989, the City of Seattle’s Mayor’s Office on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault within HSD has been charged with leading the city’s response to Gender-Based Violence and has expanded beyond domestic violence to include sexual assault, human trafficking, and other crimes of coercive control. The City of Seattle invests in strategies to prevent, intervene, and hold offenders accountable, while promoting healing, services, and community support for those impacted by domestic violence by partnering with more than 35 organizations to provide services to more than 10,000 survivors and their families each year.

All forms of IPV are preventable. Strategies to promote healthy, respectful, and nonviolent relationships are an important part of prevention. Programs that teach young people healthy relationship skills such as communication, effectively managing feelings, and problem-solving can prevent violence in dating relationships before it occurs.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); City of Seattle Human Services Department (HSD)


Help is Available

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is a serious problem that has lasting and harmful effects on individuals, families, and communities. As a nation, our goal should be to stop IPV from happening in the first place.

Prevention strategies should ultimately reduce the occurrence of IPV by promoting healthy, respectful, nonviolent relationships. Healthy relationships can be promoted by addressing risk and protective factors at the individual, relationship, community, and societal levels.

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) developed the Intimate Partner Violence Prevention Resource for Action to help states and communities take advantage of the best available evidence to prevent IPV, support survivors, and lessen the short and long-term harms.

Learn more about how you can prevent IPV >>

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

24 Hour Crisis Clinic
Phone: (866) 427-4747 or (800) 843-4793

Department of Defense (DOD) Safe Helpline for Sexual Assault
Phone: (877) 995-5247

DV Hopeline – Chat one-on-one with a trained support specialist, any time 24/7.
Phone: (206) 737-0242

King County Sexual Assault Resource Center
Phone: (888) 998-6423 (
Free & Confidential / 24-hour Resource Line)
Spanish: (425) 282.0324 (Gratis y confidencial / Llame de lunes a viernes 8 am – 5 pm)

TTY: (425) 271-6332

Love Is Respect – National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline
Phone: (866) 331-9474
TTY: (866) 331-8453
Text: “loveis” to 22522

National Domestic Violence Hotline
Phone: (800) 799-SAFE 
Videophone: (855) 812-1001
TTY: (800) 787-3224 (

National Human Trafficking Hotline
Phone: (888) 373-7888
Text: 233733

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network’s (RAINN) National Sexual Assault Hotline
Phone: (800) 656-HOPE
Chat: Visit to chat 24/7 one-on-one with a trained support specialist.

StrongHearts Native Helpline
Phone: (844) 762-8483

The Peace in the Home Helpline
Phone: (888) 847-7205 is a 24/7 hotline which connects survivors to an advocate who speaks their language with one call.

Coalition Ending Gender-based Violence
Working together for gender equity and social justice in King County.

The Covington Domestic Violence Task Force (CDVTF)
The CDVTF promotes a strong message that “Domestic Violence Has No Place in Our Community” through collaborative leadership, communication, education and victim support. The mission of CDVTF is to educate the community by providing awareness of domestic violence (DV) issues to businesses and offering resources, support, and practical services to victims and their children. The CDVTF is part of the Regional DVTF team—a partnership of two other cities in South King County. Meetings are open to the public and members welcome the support of those who have an interest in creating a positive change to end the cycle of abuse.

Domestic Violence Intervention Project
A treatment program hosted by the Seattle Municipal Court to give defendants the tools they need to have safe and loving relationships. This program was developed to help the entire family live safe and well.

Domestic Violence Resource Network (DVRN)
Funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to inform and strengthen domestic violence intervention and prevention efforts at the individual, community, and societal levels. The DVRN works collaboratively to promote practices and strategies to improve our nation’s response to domestic violence and make safety and justice not just a priority, but also a reality. DVRN member organizations ensure that victims of domestic violence, advocates, community‐based programs, educators, legal assistance providers, law enforcement and court personnel, health care providers, policy makers, and government leaders at the local, state, tribal and federal levels have access to up‐to-date information on best practices, policies, research and victim resources.

National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV)
A social change organization dedicated to creating a social, political, and economic environment in which violence against women no longer exists. Serves to address the complex causes and far-reaching consequences of domestic violence.

National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV
A comprehensive source of information for on domestic violence.

National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC)
Provides information, resources, and research on all aspects of sexual violence prevention and intervention.

National project of the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault. PreventConnect’s goal is to prevent sexual assault and relationship violence by building a community of practice to develop, implement, and evaluate prevention initiatives.

Please share these resources:

After domestic abuse ends, the effects of brain injuries can persist, NPR

5 Things about Queer Intimate Partner Violence You Should Know, National Training & Technical Assistance Center (NTTAC) for Child, Youth, & Family Mental Health

10 Tips to Have an Informed Conversation about Domestic Violence, National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV)

50 Obstacles to Leaving, National Domestic Violence Hotline

Assisting Individuals Fleeing Domestic Violence, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Soar Works

Domestic Violence: A Primer for Child Welfare Professionals, Child Welfare Information Gateway

Domestic Violence Awareness Month 2023: Heal, Hold, & Center, National Resource Center for Domestic Violence (NRCDV)

Domestic Violence Action Month 2023, Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence Resources, King County

Domestic Violence Victim Resources, Seattle Municipal Court

Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV)

Gender-Based Violence and the Effects on Behavioral Health, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Intimate Partner Violence Resources, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Mayor Harrell and City Council Recognize Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Seattle, City of Seattle, Mayor’s Office on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault(MODVSA)

Preventing and Responding to Domestic & Sexual Violence in Later Life, VAWNet

Promising Futures, Futures Without Violence

Responding to Gender-Based Violence, City of Seattle, Mayor’s Office on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault(MODVSA

Safety Net Project (NNEDV) – Exploring technology safety in the context of intimate partner violence (IPV), sexual assault, and violence against women

Shine a Light and Save a Life!, The Covington Domestic Violence Task Force (CDVTF)

Take a Stand PSA, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV)

Trauma and Violence, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Understanding Domestic Violence as a Cause of TBI, Brain Injury Association of America

Who is King County Sexual Assault Resource Center, King County Sexual Assault Resource Center

YWCA’S Week Without Violence, Serving Seattle, King, and Snohomish

Visit our Digital Resource Center to learn more about Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention — plus, more injury and violence prevention topics year-round!

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