Rockford Police recently reported that violent crime is down across the city. But one kind of crime that isn’t dropping is domestic violence, which has led to a partnership between police and an area domestic violence shelter.
Since November 2017, Rockford officers have been providing cell phones with Remedies Renewing Lives on speed dial, to victims they encounter on a nightly basis.
“We’ve had 570 women and children come in, and over 40% of those are giving domestic violence and relationship conflicts as their reason for homelessness,” said Crystal Savage, Director of Development at Remedies, located at 220 Easton Parkway.
Rockford Police report that 30% of the city’s violent crime is domestic-related.
“We went for about a year and a half without having a domestic-related homicide,” Rockford Police Lieutenant Kurt Whisenand said. “Unfortunately, this year we’ve had four.”
To prevent that number from getting higher, police teamed up with Remedies earlier this year. Remedies Renewing Lives is a non-profit organization that helps victims of domestic violence, by participating in the Lethality Assessment Program.
In the program, first responders are armed with eleven questions for the victims, along with cellphones to immediately connect them with Remedies.
Remedies’ Vice President of Operations, Karen Gill, says the agency handles, on average, 160 calls a month. Many of the calls come from first time callers.
“[We’re seeing] more male victims, more people from different areas of the nation, more people from outside of the United States that are residing in our community,” Gill said.
One of the biggest lines of defense for domestic violence victims is for loved ones to take action and call police before it’s too late.
“It’s not a private issue. It’s not a family matter. If you know someone, a family member or a friend or neighbor who’s being abused, don’t hesitate to call the police, or call someone who can help,” Whisenand said.
Remedies has a 24/7 hotline available to domestic violence victims, (815) 962-6102.