ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) – The Family Peace Center and faith leaders are coming together to address an issue plaguing the city of Rockford.
Domestic violence accounts for more than 40% of violent crimes in the city.
“This issue has destroyed the lives of untold families and individuals, and yet it is often hidden in our faith communities, as it is uncomfortable to talk about it,” said Reverend Kenneth Hansen of Life Church.
Some local faith leaders said it is time to take a stand against the issue, and encouraged other Rockford area clergy to address the problem in their congregations on Tuesday night.
“We love the Lord, but we also want to make sure we not only preach the word of God, but we show the love of God. Show the love of God to those who are going through some troubled times, and to take time to listen to them, and show them that we are a safe place,” said Pastor Steven Cossey of Total Faith Community Church.
The Family Peace Center Faith Leaders Workgroup is making the push in advance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which begins October 1. Members say there are a number of ways clergy can take on a more active role.
Cossey said he recently took a class on recognizing possible signs of domestic violence.
“Maybe a husband and wife are talking together, and every time the husband looks at the wife she looks away. When he speaks, she bows her head. She seems to maybe sometimes walk behind him instead of beside him,” Cossey said. “Those signs are those to keep an eye open for, and make pastors keep aware, and begin to talk to them about certain things. How are things going in the house, and let them have a safe place to know that they can come talk to their pastor.”
Another way faith leaders can support the cause is by taking on a role as chaplain for the Family Peace Center.
“Our prayers and our compassion, coupled with some tangible support, can really make an important difference,” said Laura Ortiz, a Family Peace Center Chaplain.
The workgroup has put together a list of resources faith leaders can use to learn more about domestic violence.