The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence first created a national Day of Unity in October 1981 as a way to unite people and organizations working on domestic violence issues. That same year, WISE joined the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. The WISE 24-hour crisis line was established (866-348-WISE) and 150 office and crisis line calls were received during the year.
The Day of Unity quickly evolved into an awareness week, and in October 1987, Domestic Violence Awareness Month was launched nationwide. In 1989, Congress passed Public Law 101-112 which officially designated October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.