ROCKFORD - The City of Rockford's new domestic violence prevention manager is hoping to reduce the city's domestic violence rate after several domestic related homicides in the area so far this year.
"Far too often, these crimes fall on the shoulder of the police and courts to disrupt and be effective and, really, there are so many layers that we miss before they get to law enforcement," said Jennifer Cacciapaglia, the new manager of the Mayor's Office of Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking Prevention.
Cacciapaglia comes to the city with years of experience after working in the Winnebago County State's Attorney's Office and then as the Rockford City Attorney. She also co-founded 'RAASE,' the Rockford Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation.
"I've been learning about the dynamics of it and studying this issue for decades, and that is really the only areas I've focused on my entire career."
She joined the city after calls to reduce the rising domestic violence rate. Her role is designed to work hand in hand with Rockford police and other organizations, to get everyone working together to put resources where they would best be fit.
"This is our community's problems. We are responsible to provide a system of support that is conducive to getting out of these situations to provide a system of prevention that teaches our young people how not to become abusers."
Rockford Commander Kevin Ogden says many violent crimes start as domestic related incidents that spiral out of control.
"We need to work on breaking that cycle, because these young people in the home, that's what they see, and that's what they grow up in and what they think is normal," said Ogden.
"To be clear, this is a lot of work. We are in the midst of making a cultural shift---that is not going to be something that happens in the blink of an eye," said Cacciapaglia.
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