The goal of the GFWC Signature Program: Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention is to increase awareness of and help prevent the widespread occurrence of domestic abuse and violence against women in communities across the nation by working with national domestic violence networks, supporting existing activities, working with various established programs, and initiating educational opportunities for club members and local citizens. GFWC is a powerful voice for those who have no voice.
GFWC members will speak with one voice:

        To develop and influence federal and state legislation that positively affects the lives of domestic violence victims and their families.
        To protect the safety, security, and dignity of older citizens.
        To inspire and support young people to build healthy relationships and create a culture without abuse.
        To ensure fair, responsive, and fully developed campus sexual assault policies, knowledgeable administrators, and ultimately, an end to sexual violence on college campuses.
        To empower individuals and organizations working to end violence against women and children around the world.
        To address a broad range of violence affecting women of color and their communities.
        To provide high school athletic coaches with the resources they need to promote respectful behavior among their players and help prevent relationship abuse, harassment, and sexual assault.
        To promote fundraisers which provide a positive and constructive solution to victims of abuse through the GFWC Success for Survivors Scholarship.
        To promote projects that support and cultivate work with national and local domestic violence and abuse organizations.
        To support GFWC Signature Program: Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Program partners.

The United States Department of Justice defines domestic violence as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate

partner. Domestic violence includes physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person.

Physical Abuse: Hitting, slapping, choking, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, hair pulling, etc., are types of physical abuse. This type of abuse also includes denying a partner medical care or forcing alcohol and/or drug use upon him or her.

Sexual Abuse: Coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact or behavior without consent. Sexual abuse includes, but is certainly not limited to, marital rape, attacks on sexual parts of the body, forcing sex after physical violence has occurred, or treating one in a sexually demeaning manner.

Emotional Abuse: Undermining an individual's sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem is abusive. This may include, but is not limited to, constant criticism, diminishing one's abilities, name-calling, or damaging one's relationship with his or her children.

Economic Abuse: Is defined as making or attempting to make an individual financially dependent by maintaining total control over financial resources, withholding one's access to money, or forbidding one's attendance at school or employment.

Psychological Abuse: Elements of psychological abuse include - but are not limited to - causing fear by intimidation; threatening physical harm to self, partner, children, or partner's family or friends; destruction of pets and property; and forcing isolation from family, friends, or school and/or work.

No state, no city, no community, and no neighborhood is immune from domestic violence. Perpetrators and victims come from all races, religions, cultures, age groups, genders, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic levels. Domestic violence occurs in both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships and can happen to intimate partners who are married, living together, or dating.
Domestic violence not only affects those who are abused but also has a substantial effect on family members, friends, co-workers, other witnesses, and the community at large. Children who grow up witnessing domestic violence are among those most seriously affected by this crime. Frequent exposure to violence in the home not only predisposes children to numerous social and physical problems but also teaches them that violence is a normal way of life, therefore increasing their risk of becoming society's next generation of victims and abusers.
(Sources: National Domestic Violence Hotline, National Center for Victims of Crime,, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence)
In addition to intimate partner abuse, the GFWC Signature Program: Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention also works to combat Violence Against Women in all forms: elder abuse, teen dating violence, campus sexual assault, violence against women of color, and child abuse. And to work in engaging men to promote respectful behavior and help prevent relationship abuse.
Suggested Projects:

Create Comfort Dolls out of muslin, with an attached card that says, "I am a Comfort Doll. I was made especially for you by a woman's heart and hand who cares. When you need strength or just a smile, hold me and feel the love I send. Like me, you are unique, worthy, beautiful and deserve all good things in life. You have the strength within yourself to be extraordinary." Comfort Dolls - created with our hands - given with our hearts. Give them to a local Shelter.
Collect teddy bears to give to children at a child advocacy center, where children are interviewed and examined after an incident of abuse.
Collect gently used purses and tote bags and fill them with health and beauty aids, jewelry, children's items, and other toiletries. Present them to your local shelter.
Apply for Walmart's Community Grant program to finance a project for your local shelter or to bring awareness to all

2018-2020 INITIATIVE
In 1994 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in January was declared a National Day of Service. Each and every club in GFWC is asked to do a service project on that day. It may be in any area, any type of project. OUR GOAL IS 1,000 CLUBS PARTCIPATING.
The GFWC Signature Program Committee is challenging our State Federations to raise awareness and benefit domestic violence shelters in their states by having a "purse contest" at their annual state conventions. Encourage clubs to enter their purses created with items to be donated to their local shelters. The purses could also be used as centerpieces for convention functions. Clubs need to contact their local shelters to determine the current needs of the shelter.
P -
U - Uniting
R - Resources to
S - Successfully
E - End violence against women!!

Make these suggestions part of your club work. Think outside of the box, put a new slant on an idea, and adopt it to your club work. With all projects/programs think diversity--work with other groups or for other groups, or highlight diversity as the theme.
1 .Create Comfort Dolls out of muslin, with an attached card that says, "I am a Comfort Doll. I was made especially for you by a woman's heart and hand who cares. When you need strength or just a smile, hold me and feel the love I send. Like me, you are unique, worthy, beautiful and deserve all good things in life. You have the strength within yourself to be extraordinary." Comfort Dolls - created with our hands - given with our hearts. Give them to a local Shelter.
2. Collect teddy bears to give to children at a child advocacy center, where children are interviewed and examined after an incident of abuse.
3 .Collect gently used purses and tote bags and fill them with health and beauty aids, jewelry, children's items, and other toiletries. Present them to your local shelter.
4. Apply for Walmart's Community Grant program to finance a project for your local shelter or to bring awareness to all types Domestic Violence.
5. Have a White Ribbon Campaign (an international effort of men and boys working to end violence against women) to educate and inform their community about domestic violence. Distribute white ribbons to high school/college male athletes, etc.
6. Donate pocket calendars and desk calendars to your local shelter to help women organize their lives
7. Donate Mother's Day gifts to a shelter so that children can have a present to give their moms.
8. Purchase holiday gifts for your local domestic violence shelter staff. Bake cookies or goodies and take them to your local shelter for the employees, as well as those living in the shelter, for the holidays or the weekend.
9. Donated gently used or new children's books for a library at your shelter.
10. Hold a "Bread for Bras" event. Make Irish Soda Bread and sell it to raise funds to buy bras for residents of shelters.
11. Hold a "Showing and Glowing" of purple during October - Domestic Violence Awareness month. Distribute strings of purple lights to local businesses and community members to display. Attach a card explaining GFWC's Signature Project and your club's participation.
12. Provide "Move Out Kits" for your local shelter. The kits include plates, cups, bowls, kitchenware, and bathroom items for families who leave the shelter and move into a home.
13. Have a "Work Out to Wipe Out Domestic Violence" Awareness Benefit Day. Work with community partners to present a list of activities, such as belly dancing, Boot Camp Training, Pilates, a 10K Run, and self-defense. Collect an entry fee and donate funds to shelter and/or scholarship.
14. Have a "Mardi Bra Party" in any month you wish. Send invitations to other women's groups and ask them to donate new bras and personal hygiene products for local shelter. Have a speaker from local shelter talk about Domestic Violence and the needs of the shelter.
15. Assemble SHARP (Stalking, Harassment, and Rape Prevention) Kits, and donate them to a Rape Crisis Center. Each kit contains a cell phone and charger, a small paper tablet and pen, a flashlight, a whistle, a datebook, and a canister of pepper spray in non-transparent cosmetic bags.
16. Purchase new journals and decorate the covers with inspirational sayings and donate them to your shelter for women to record their thoughts as part of the counseling/healing program.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month evolved from a Day of Unity, observed in October 1981, by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The intent was to mourn those who had died because of domestic violence, celebrate those who had survived, and connect advocates 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 were conducted at the local, state, and national levels. In 1989, the U.S. Congress designated October of that year as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Congress has passed subsequent legislation annually.
To promote Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Month:
Print table tents with a reminder that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and provide information about services and how to access them. Distribute table tents to area restaurants and hospital cafeterias.
Provide materials to your local libraries for a display during October.
Write an article or op-ed piece for your local newspaper or blog. Work with personnel from your local domestic violence shelter to provide additional information.
Sponsor a Candlelight/Luminary Vigil during Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Month (October). Luminaries can be designed by a shelter's residents.

Present each attendee with a purple ribbon upon their arrival. Speakers may include survivors, shelter directors, public officials, and/or police officers. Poetry, messages, and contact information can be printed on a pamphlet that is provided to participants.
Wear purple-the color of Domestic Violence Awareness Month-during the month of October and use this as a way to tell others why ending domestic violence is important to you.
Present a proclamation recognizing Domestic Violence Awareness Month to your local, county, or state government.

Light in the Window Campaign The campaign symbolizes communities' concern in shedding light on the devastating effects of domestic violence and their unified commitment to make every home a safe home. Observed annually throughout the month of October, the Light in the Window Campaign signifies community solidarity toward ending domestic violence across the state by organizing a widespread display of purple-lit, electric candles in the windows of residences, businesses, public buildings, schools/ universities, hospitals, churches, etc. An informational card that provides details about the Light in the Window campaign and about the collective strength symbolized by the purple flames displayed in windows across the state accompanies each candle display. This idea was originally borne out of the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WVCADV) Public Awareness Advisory Committee, comprised of advocates and survivors from around the state.

Always call your local shelters to discuss their needs.
Donate new or gently used purses to shelters before Mother's Day for children to pick out a gift for their moms for Mother's Day.
Ask your local shelter about doing makeovers - manicures, pedicures, make-up, and hair.
Utilize the after holiday clearance sales to find "comfy" clothes - lounge pants, sweat shirts, slippers, etc. to donate to your local shelters.
Encourage local businesses and corporations to sponsor a "Denim Day" with the proceeds going to their local shelter.
Call your local shelter and ask to hold a fundraiser or supplies drive or donate food and/or meals for them.
During a Holiday Party, Birthday Party, Breakfast with Santa, ask guests to donate coloring books, crayons, books, puzzles, blocks, or stuffed animals for children at a shelter.
Purchase holiday gifts for your local domestic violence shelter staff. A massage gift certificate, a restaurant gift card, a bath and body gift basket, or anything that embodies a relaxing time for them for all their long and tireless hours. Bake cookies or goodies and take them to your local shelter for the employees, as well as those living in the shelter, for the holidays or the weekend.
Create a tea basket and donate it to your local shelter. Include tea cups and a tea pot along with various
teas, sugar packets or cubes, honey, and cinnamon. Round out the package, such as tea biscuits, biscotti or chocolate. Finally, decorate the inside of the basket with some lace or anything else to make the package prettier. Tuck a note inside saying: "Take some time for yourself today. Relax and remember where there is tea, there's hope."

Assemble and donate First Night Kits (pajamas, toiletry items, clothing), Birthday Bags, or Bedtime Snack Sacks.
Host a "Wear One, Share One" Pajama Party to raise funds and collect pajamas for women and children in local shelters.

As victims begin their road to recovery their needs change. GFWC can donate items that will help them take the necessary steps into their future. Clubs can work with organizations, such as Dress for Success (, and their local shelters to gather information and items that are needed. Allstate Foundation Purple Purse helps domestic violence survivors prepare for the future by helping them better understand and manage their personal finances.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines teen dating violence as physical, sexual, psychological, or emotional violence within a dating relationship, including stalking. It can occur in person or via social media and may occur between a current or former dating partner. Dating violence is widespread with serious long-term effects. Many teens do not report it because they are afraid to tell friends and family. A 2011 CDC nationwide survey found that 23% of females and 14% of males who ever experienced rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner, first experienced some form of partner violence between 11 and 17 years of age.
Encourage local schools and youth programs to train teachers, school counselors, and athletic coaches on how to recognize children and teens who are victims of intimate partner violence. Provide educators with resources and prepare them to intervene in domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking situations.
Facilitate an information session for parents on teen dating violence at your school.
Sponsor art classes for local high schools in which students make posters about dating abuse and domestic violence awareness and prevention. Encourage the use of photography, computer graphics, and artwork to make the posters unique. Work with your local library or community center to post finished artwork for the entire community to view.
Work with Coaching Boys into Men on projects in your local high school. Contact at www. Phone: (202) 595-7382.
Organize an event for parents and/or your community about healthy relationships and what they should know about teen dating abuse.
Write an article for your local or school paper about dating abuse and domestic violence.
Sponsor a door-decorating contest or art contest at your local middle and high school about healthy relationships/dating abuse/ domestic violence and have the winning entry made into a poster to distribute in your community.
Present a proclamation recognizing Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month in February to your local, county, or state government.

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, elder abuse refers to intentional or negligent acts by a caregiver or "trusted" individual that causes (or potentially causes) harm to a vulnerable elder. Most common categories of abuse are:
Physical Abuse
Sexual Abuse

Financial Abuse and Exploitation
Emotional or Psychological Abuse and Neglect (Including Verbal Abuse and Threats)

Throughout the year, there are many holidays and observances that can provide your club with the opportunity to honor older individuals and raise awareness of elder abuse. These observances provide unique opportunities to engage public attention, enlist public support, and generate activity and involvement at a grassroots level:
Organize a candlelight vigil in recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (June 15).
Host a rally on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and invite seniors, advocates, spokespersons, and government officials to talk about the issues and the ways that citizens can become involved in prevention.
Distribute elder abuse public awareness materials at a local sporting event, concert, or fair.
Partner with a local nursing home for a World Elder Abuse Awareness Day barbeque or picnic. Include activities and food for residents and their families, staff, and the community. Ask volunteers to bring food and games to play and coordinate the activities with nursing home staff. Invite the press for added exposure and increased elder abuse awareness.
Organize a collection of robes, socks, pajamas, sweat pants, and shirts that can be donated to senior citizen centers or nursing homes.
Hold a community yard sale at a central location such as a senior center or church/synagogue with proceeds going to an elder abuse support group or community outreach efforts to help the elderly in crisis.
Organize a "Letter to the Editor" writing campaign to raise awareness not only of elder abuse but of the local resources that are available in your community on aging offices and other organizations. Be sure to include contact information and hotline/helpline phone numbers as well as web addresses for relevant organizations.
Clothesline Show: Sponsor a t-shirt design contest or activity with a youth group or scout troop. Ask contestants to depict the themes related to elder abuse. Display the shirts on a clothesline at a senior center, health fair, or other World Day event.
Ask local, county, and state governments to release a proclamation declaring June 15 as Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

Domestic violence affects individuals in every community across the United States. It may include the use of physical and sexual violence, verbal and emotional abuse, stalking, and economic abuse. Domestic violence results in physical injury, psychological trauma, and sometimes death. The consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and last a lifetime.
Consider the following:
Domestic violence is the most common source of injury to women, more common than automobile

accidents, muggings, and rape by a stranger combined.
Domestic violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime.
Domestic violence is most common among women between the ages of 18-24.
Every nine seconds in the U.S., a woman is assaulted or beaten.
19% of domestic violence involves a weapon. The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500%.
Every year, approximately four million older Americans are victims of physical, psychological, and/or other forms of abuse and neglect.
Older adults who require assistance with daily life activities are at increased risk of being emotionally abused or financially exploited.

Approximately 50% of older adults with dementia are mistreated or abused.
Boys who witness their mothers' abuse are more likely to batter their female partners as adults than boys raised in nonviolent homes.
Studies show that 3-4 million children between the ages of 3-17 are at risk of exposure to domestic violence each year. Children from violent homes have higher risks of alcohol and/or drug abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, and juvenile delinquency. Witnessing domestic violence is the most significant predictor of juvenile delinquency and adult criminality. It is also the number one reason children run away.
Domestic violence costs $8.3 billion in expenses annually, a combination of higher medical costs ($5.8 billion) and lost productivity ($2.5 billion).

Consider becoming a board member for your local domestic violence shelter.
Encourage businesses and corporations to implement sexual harassment training.
Encourage members to sign up for the GFWC Legislative Action Center.
Educate your communities: Public awareness campaigns on domestic violence can educate community members about the prevalence of abuse, encourage people to take action to end abuse, and alert survivors to the options and resources that are available to them.

As part of the GFWC Signature Program: Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention, the GFWC Success For Survivors Scholarship was created in 2012 to lend a helping hand to those impacted by intimate partner violence who are pursuing higher education. The scholarship aims to provide survivors with a means to achieve both financial and personal independence. Since its inception in 2012, GFWC has awarded $50,000 in scholarship funds. GFWC awards scholarships annually each June determined by the amount of donations received.
Make a difference in the lives of domestic violence survivors around the country by supporting the GFWC Success for Survivors Scholarship. You may download the donation form from support-gfwc/gfwc-signature-project-fund.

"Shades of Purple" Fashion Show with proceeds donated to the Scholarship Fund.
Wine, Women, and Shoes Fashion Show: Work with local businesses to feature a wine tasting, gourmet food samples, a shoe fashion show with shoes displayed on silver platters, and a silent auction.

Wine Pull Raffle: Bottles of wine are wrapped so the labels can't be seen and then they are numbered. Sell raffle tickets for $10 - $20 and have participants choose from a basket filled with wine corks that have been numbered and win that particular numbered bottle of wine.9
Theme Basket Ideas:
Afternoon Nap Afternoon Tea
Are We There Yet? Bagel Lovers
Bakers Bundle Bar Mitzvah
Cake Decorating Cards for All Occasions
Date Night First Aid Kit
Healthy Habits Holidays Survival Kit
Home Office Kids Cooking
Picnic in the Park Soup for the Soul
Teenager Survival Kit Movie Night

New!! Expand the Success for Survivors Scholarship by partnering with an alumnae organization of your State College to create the "Go Forward With Confidence" Scholarship for victims of domestic violence and abuse at your State College. This is an excellent way for your club to partner with another group and possibly gain members. The scholarship should be named the "Go Forward With Confidence" Scholarship in case in the future it is shortened to just initials, it would be the GFWC Scholarship.


Pinwheels for Prevention® is Prevent Child Abuse America's national campaign that promotes great childhoods and raises awareness of child abuse prevention. The pinwheel embodies the innocence and joy of childhood, and the notion that every child deserves a great childhood.
You can participate in this campaign by:
Conducting your own pinwheel activities at any time of year, including gathering with neighbors to plant "pinwheel gardens" in your communities to continue raising awareness of child abuse prevention
Holding fundraisers with local schools, faith-based organizations, or community centers in which pinwheels are sold to benefit the state chapter from which you bought the pinwheels.

The opportunities are endless.
Visit to learn more Prevent Child Abuse America, how you can get involved, and to find the chapter in your state.