City of Seattle Recognizes October as “Domestic Violence Awareness Month”


The national theme of Domestic Violence Awareness Month 2022— #Every1KnowsSome1—illustrates the importance of public awareness and participationSeattle – Each year, the City of Seattle recognizes October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month to raise awareness and acknowledge the victims and survivors of abuse and its effects on families and communities.

This week, Mayor Bruce Harrell and City Council proclaimed this 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. The proclamation was presented to the Seattle Women’s Commission at City Council.

“Domestic violence can happen to anyone, regardless of age, race, or gender. In Washington, 1 in 8 adults report having been injured by an intimate partner – this is unacceptable. The traumatic impacts of domestic violence are felt across generations, and we must advocate for victims and survivors and connect them with support and resources,” said Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell. “I encourage every Seattleite to use this time to learn how they can help a family member, friend, or neighbor who may be suffering abuse in silence.”

“Seattle residents are fortunate to have many dedicated organizations helping people who find themselves impacted by intimate partner and gender-based violence,” said Councilmember Lisa Herbold, Chair of the Public Safety & Human Services Committee. “If you’re worried about someone in your life, the most important thing you can do is listen, tell them you believe them, and offer to support them in whatever way they need. You can learn more about domestic violence at DVHopeline.org or call them 24/7 at (877) 737-0242. They will provide support, resources, and in-language assistance. I’m grateful to our Human Services Department and their dozens of partners, who help people impacted by domestic violence every day; and to the Seattle Women’s Commission for their efforts to break the stigma surrounding domestic violence.”

Since its inception in 1989, the Mayor's Office on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (MODVSA) within the Human Services Department has been charged with leading the City of Seattle'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. Mayor Harrell’s 2023-2024 Proposed Budget includes new resources to support survivors of intimate partner violence by increasing victim advocacy staffing and to assess the current gaps in victim support advocacy.

“No community is immune to the physical or emotional abuse of domestic violence, but we can all play a role to recognize the signs of abuse and support those in need of help as we work towards a Seattle where everyone is safe, healthy, and thriving,” said Tanya Kim, Acting Director of the Human Services Department. “We cannot be silent on domestic violence, and I am proud to work in partnership with Mayor Harrell, City Council, our dedicated HSD staff, and numerous community and City partners to raise awareness. Join me this month to honor victims, support survivors, and come together to end domestic violence once and for all.”

“The Coalition Ending Gender-Based Violence is honored to join the Mayor and the City Council in proclaiming October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month,” said Merril Cousin, Executive Director of the Coalition Ending Gender-Based Violence. “The Coalition educates, organizes, and leads over 30 gender-based violence agencies in King County, all of which support diverse survivors of domestic and sexual violence in our communities all throughout the year. We must honor the courage and dignity of survivors by ensuring that supportive services are available and accessible to all survivors as they work towards safety and self-determination. Thank you to the Mayor’s Office and City Council for using your powerful platforms to inspire awareness on behalf of survivors of domestic violence.”

The City also takes seriously its responsibility to its own employees and to serve as a role model for other large organizations. In addition to sick leave, Seattle’s Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) Ordinance provides workers with paid leave for absences that result from critical safety issues arising from domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

“Seattle’s Paid Sick and Safe Time Ordinance has provided a decade of much-needed protections for workers in Seattle. Safe time in particular is a pivotal resource to help domestic violence survivors seek the assistance they need,” said Steven Marchese, Director of the Office of Labor Standards. “The Office of Labor Standards (OLS) takes this moment to increase awareness about legal protections available to Seattle workers and their families. Our workplaces can play an important role in a survivor’s physical safety and financial security, especially when they offer paid safe leave for absences related to domestic violence and sexual assault. OLS is committed to help end gender-based violence -- it is a shared responsibility.”

To honor victims and support survivors, the Humans Services Department is encouraging City employees and members of the community to wear purple on Thursday, October 20, 2022. “Purple Thursday” is the domestic violence awareness day launched by the DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence that’s now gone national with observances across the country. Post a photo, hold a sign, or share a personal story if you are comfortable, and use the social media hashtags #DVAM and #PurpleThursday. In a show of support of "Purple Thursday”, The Seattle Great Wheel and Columbia Center will light up purple on Thursday, October 20, 2022, and at times throughout the month. On Saturday, October 15, 2022, from 12 to 4 p.m. the Seattle Women’s Commission is hosting an event at Seattle City Hall titled “Shattering Stigma through Knowledge” as a day of learning how to break the stigmas related to domestic violence and make access and resources more easily available to those who have been affected. The event is open to the public and participants can join virtually. Food, refreshments, and childcare will be available. For more information contact: tanayasu.swc@gmail.com.

“On behalf of the Seattle Women's Commission, I accept this Proclamation very humbly and with gratitude,” said Tana Yasu, Chair of the Seattle Women’s Commission. “The work we do on the Commission is a mere fragment compared to our front-line workers and advocates who work diligently 365 days a year to curtail and dismantle the social disorder we call domestic violence. It is a privilege, honor, and duty to work with the Mayor and City Council to shine a light of hope and lend a helping hand to victims and survivors of domestic violence.”

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month evolved from a Day of Unity first observed in October 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The intent was to connect advocates for survivors of abuse across the nation who were working to end violence against women and their children. The Day of Unity soon became a special week when a range of activities was conducted at the local, state, and national levels, and has since grown to become a federally observed month of awareness and action on domestic violence.

Please visit the OLS website for more information on the PSST Ordinance or call 206-256-5297. If you or someone you know needs assistance, you can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-SAFE) or call the 24/7 DVHopeline at (877) 737-0242.