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Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) evolved from the “Day of Unity” in October 1981 observed by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The intent was to connect advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and their children. The Day of Unity soon became an entire week devoted to a range of activities conducted at the local, state, and national levels. The activities conducted were as varied and diverse as the program sponsors but had common themes: mourning those who have died because of domestic violence, celebrating those who have survived, and connecting those who work to end violence.

In October 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed. That same year marks the initiation of the first national domestic violence toll-free hotline.  In 1989 the U.S. Congress passed Public Law 101-112 designating October of that year as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  Such legislation has passed every year since with NCADV providing key leadership in this effort.  Each year, the Day of Unity is celebrated the first Monday of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

— Adapted from the 1996 Domestic Violence Awareness Month Resource Manual National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Get Involved


Become a Monthly Donor

Join our very special family of supporters who provide unwavering financial support. As a monthly donor, we can count on your automatic donation each month and it’s the most environmentally-friendly and cost-effective way to support Ascend Justice and the survivors we serve. Become a member of our special monthly donor family today. Donate now.

Participate in Trivia Night

Provide support to 6 survivors of gender-based violence and help the Young Professionals Board raise $7,500 at their always popular Trivia Night on Tuesday, November 7 hosted at Kirkland & Ellis. Teams of 6 compete in rounds of trivia all vying for a victory. This event has sold out! Sponsorship opportunities are available. Register or make a donation.

Follow us on social media

Leading to the Young Professionals Board Trivia Night event, we will be posting trivia questions throughout the month to test your knowledge on topics that we hope will be educational, eye-opening, and actionable. We will also post reminders for the items below as well as any NEW opportunities that become available!


Survivor Crisis Fund Applications Opens

Audience: survivors who reside in the City of Chicago

The Network: Advocating Against Domestic Violence established the Survivor Crisis Fund during the pandemic to address critical gaps in the safety net for survivors of gender-based violence and human trafficking. The Network is accepting applications only for survivors who reside within the City of Chicago starting at 10AM on October 1st and will close when all funding has been distributed. This one-time funding will be available for survivors of domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault, and/or trafficking who reside in Chicago as a $1,000 payment. Learn all the requirements needed to qualify for this life-changing funding here. The application can found here.

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 3, 12:00PM – 1:00PM

Drafting Petitions for Orders of Protection

Audience: members of the legal community

Join SHALVA and Ascend Justice for our annual Domestic Violence Awareness Month Continuing Legal Education program. Danielle Parisi Ruffatto, Managing Director, Family Law and Protective Orders Division at Ascend Justice, will be discussing the key elements and strategies behind drafting an effective petition for orders of protection. You will be a better advocate for your client’s safety after attending this program. Registration required.


Annual Ribbon Tying
Swedish Hospital, Galter Medical Pavilion Main Lobby, 5140 N California, Chicago

Audience: general public

Members of Swedish Hospital Community, Swedish Hospital Community Partners, and the General Public are invited to attend and tie a purple ribbon to the tree in the main lobby at Galter Medical Pavilion. These purple ribbons will remain on the tree throughout October to recognize Domestic Violence Awareness Month and honor those who have been impacted by domestic violence. There will be a short program after the ribbons have been tied to the tree. Those in attendance are invited to wear purple and participate in a group photo. See flyer for details.

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 10, 12:00PM – 1:00PM

Constitutional Law and Contact in Counterman v. Colorado
Northwestern University, Strawn Hall (MC 195), Chicago

Audience: general public

Domestic violence remains a persistent and serious problem in our society. Join us for a discussion about domestic violence and constitutional issues in Counterman v. Colorado. Panelists include: Professor Genevieve Lakier, University of Chicago Law School; Latreece Sanders, Family Rescue; Professor Deborah Tuerkheimer, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law; Emily Werth, ACLU of Illinois. See flyer. Registration required.



Audience: general public

Spread awareness about Domestic Violence Awareness Month on #PurpleThursday by wearing purple! Take a photo of yourself (and your family and friends) wearing purple, post it on social media, and use the hashtags: #AJDVAM #PurpleThursday. Be sure tag us too! @AscendJustice


CCSAO Domestic Violence Awareness Month Walk & Resource Fair
Cook County Domestic Violence Courthouse, 555 W Harrison St, Chicago

Audience: general public

Join Ascend Justice as we participate again in this year’s Cook County States Attorney’s Office (CCSAO) Annual Domestic Violence Awareness Walk and Fair.Resource Fair begins at 10:00AM, Walk begins at 2:00PM.At this community event, be there as we walk together to raise awareness of domestic violence and show support for survivors.  The fair will feature information tables from local organizations, resources for those impacted by domestic violence, and opportunities to get involved in making our community safer. By participating, you can help bring hope, promote healing, and work toward ending domestic violence. Join us as we stand united and speak out against domestic violence. Learn more.


My Love Affair with Marriage movie premiere – ONE NIGHT ONLY!
Landmark Century Centre Cinema, 2828 N Clark Ave, Chicago

Audience: general public

Ascend Justice will be present at the ONE NIGHT Chicago premiere of the award-winning animated film for adults, My Love Affair with Marriage by director, Signe Baumane! My Love Affair with Marriage is about a young spirited woman, Zelma, who is determined to conform to the pressures of singing Mythology Sirens in order to be loved, but the more she conforms, the more her body resists. A story of inner female rebellion. Watch the movie trailer before you go! Purchase your tickets.


Story Slam
Revolution Brewing, 2323 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago

Audience: members of the legal community

Get to know your fellow justice-minded colleagues in the legal community and enjoy listening to stories of justice shared by volunteers from the audience. Interested in telling a story? Come prepared with a five-minute story related to the theme (justice). Storytellers and listeners alike are encouraged to attend! This event is complimentary and open to all members of the legal community. Registration required.


Survivor Economic Equity Data (SEED) Dashboard Trainings
Online – Zoom

Audience: general public (primary: community-based advocates / programs and statewide DV coalition staff)

Anyone can experience intimate partner violence, but not all survivors have access to what they need to be, get, and stay safe. Policy and other decision-makers often look at individual risk factors to IPV (e.g. age, history of abuse) and individual behaviors toward safety without looking at the neighborhood and structural factors that put safety out of reach (e.g. high and inequitable poverty, job and housing instability, unequal access to services). As a result, we expect survivors to get safe and establish economic security quickly in environments with scarce resources and support, especially for those from historically oppressed communities. Data is a powerful tool to illustrate this inequity and create change. In this two-part webinar series, we’ll use Center for Survivor Agency and Justice’s Survivor Economic Equity Data Dashboard to discuss how different types of data can be used to paint a picture of the inequitable safety landscapes and help us agitate for policy and systems change in each state. On October 26, we will: *Explore the link between structural inequity and IPV, and what data can be used to illustrate it.*Familiarize with the U.S. Census and explore how to access its data.*Share & discuss data in CSAJ’s SEED Dashboard and how to use it. On November 2, we will: *Practice using the Dashboard to inform direct and policy advocacy, using sample use cases identified in part 1. *Discuss data gaps and identify critical data needs to fuel advocacy for survivor economic equity. Registration is required.


30th Annual Pro Bono & Community Service Fair
McDermott Will & Emery, 444 W Lake St, Chicago

Audience: members of the legal community

Ascend Justice will be in attendance at the Chicago Bar Association Young Lawyers Section and the Chicago Bar Foundation’s 30th Annual Pro Bono and Community Service Fair. Meet with representatives from Chicago’s legal aid, pro bono, community service, and mentoring organizations to find a pro bono or volunteer opportunity that fits your schedule, interests, and goals. Lawyers, law students, and other legal professionals from all backgrounds are welcome. This event is complimentary and open to all individuals in the legal community. Registration required.


CommUNITY Resource Fair
YWCA Evanston/North Shore, 1215 Church St, Evanston

Audience: general public

The YWCA Evanston/NorthShore invited the community to come together to share information and discover support resources. See flyer for more details.


FILM SCREENING: What’s Love Got to Do with It
Northbrook Public Library, 1201 Cedar Ln, Northbrook

Audience: general public 1993 * Rated R * 118 minutes * In partnership with SHALVA

Based on the life of the legendary soul singer, Tina Turner. Tina moves to St. Louis to pursue a career, and there she meets the charismatic Ike Turner, who rechristens her Tina and offers to help her succeed. As a musical team, Ike and Tina take the charts by storm. But as his physical abuse worsens, Tina has to make the tough decision to leave Ike and set out on her own. This program will be held live in-person in the auditorium. Registration requested.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 27, 8:00AM – 9:00aM

Breakfast with the Judges
K&L Gates LLP, 70 W Madison St #3300, Chicago

Audience: general public

Hear the judicial perspective on pro bono over breakfast with Chicago’s legal community members. Opening remarks will be followed by small roundtable discussions led by federal and state judiciary members about professionalism and the importance of pro bono to the community.
From the Northern District: 
*Judge Mary M. Rowland (Pro Bono Week Co-Chair)
*Judge LaShonda A. Hunt
*Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman
*Judge Young B. Kim
*Judge Deborah L. Thorne
From Cook County Circuit Court: 
*Judge Alison C. Conlon
*Judge Toya T. Harvey
*Judge Nichole C. Patton
*Judge Lloyd James Brooks
*Judge Cecilia A. Horan

Registration required.


Voices United: Brain Injury in Intimate Partner Violence – An Undiagnosed Threat
Swedish Hospital, Anderson Pavilion Auditorium, 2751 W Winona St, Chicago

Audience: general public

Swedish Hospital’s Pathways Program invites you to join them for this important event where they will highlight the lesser known prevalence and health risks presented by brain injury and strangulation in intimate partner violence. Together we will uncover a multidisciplinary approach to caring for survivors and maximizing health outcomes. See flyer for more details. Registration required.

Why Purple

Domestic violence awareness is associated with the color purple. Throughout October, people decorate their lives in the color purple – from t-shirts and ribbons to nail polish and hair color. The color purple is a symbol of peace, courage, survival, honor and dedication to ending violence. It is a salute to survivors and those we have lost to domestic violence.

Raising awareness of domestic violence is an important piece of working to end the cycle of violence. One in four women and one in seven men in the United States will be affected by domestic violence in their lifetime. If you have not experienced domestic violence in your own relationships, then chances are you know someone who has been or may currently be in an abusive situation.

We celebrated Purple Thursday on October 20th, the national day of action, where we wore purple and posted to social justice.

Be Informed

What You Can Do

Hear Our Stories

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if you are in immediate danger


24/7 Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline


(877) 863-6338

Orders of Protection

Ascend Justice Remote OP Hotline:
Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 5 pm