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Public Papers - 1991 - September

Proclamation 6340 -- National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, 1991

1991-09-27

By the President of the United States

of America

A Proclamation

When we Americans celebrate Thanksgiving later this fall, most of us will be able to count home and family among our greatest blessings. Tragically, however, far too many of our fellow citizens have been denied the joys of a happy home as a result of domestic violence.

Domestic violence not only inflicts great physical pain and suffering but also undermines the very fabric of society. A tragic betrayal of personal trust and responsibility, it strikes at the fundamental bonds of family life -- bonds that, in turn, hold together any truly stable community and nation. Thus, domestic violence cannot be dismissed as a simply ``private'' matter. Its impact warrants the attention and concern of all Americans.

Domestic violence is not limited to any one group; it affects individuals and families from every race and every walk of life. Neither is it just a series of hostile exchanges or the kind of simple quarrels that can occur from time to time in every family. On the contrary, domestic violence is a serious and destructive pattern of behavior that can lead to injury and death.

The Department of Health and Human Services reports that domestic violence is already the largest cause of injury to women in the United States, and that its incidence is rising. Other victims include the elderly, as well as abused and neglected children. Youngsters who suffer or simply witness domestic violence may carry emotional scars for a lifetime. Those scars can lead to vicious cycles of abuse and despair.

Fortunately, we have made progress in our campaign to end the tragedy of domestic violence. During the past decade, we have taken great strides in coordinating Federal support with local and private-sector efforts to expand prevention services -- particularly in areas that have been traditionally underserved. We have also promoted greater coordination of services for abused spouses and their children, thereby helping to meet long-term needs -- such as substance abuse treatment, child care, and counseling -- as well as immediate needs for shelter. Of course, because domestic violence poses such a grave threat to individuals and families, we still have more work to do.

Every autumn since 1985, we have set aside National Domestic Violence Awareness Month as a time to reflect on this problem and on ways that we can assist its victims. This year, let us recognize the many dedicated volunteers and professionals who offer shelter and support to the victims of domestic violence. Let us also strive to learn more about domestic violence and how each of us can help bring an end to it.

The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 73, has designated October 1991 as ``National Domestic Violence Awareness Month'' and has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this month.

Now, Therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim October 1991 as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I urge all Americans to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-seventh day of September, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and sixteenth.

George Bush

[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 3:10 p.m., September 27, 1991]

Note: This proclamation was published in the Federal Register on October 1, 1991.

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