ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Rockford’s Family Peace Center and Winnebago County are partnering to pay for a legal assistance fund for domestic violence survivors.

County Board Member Angela Fellars said she found there is high demand for legal help in domestic situations, and the fund will help victims secure custody of their children early in the process, which will hope to alleviate barriers people may face when trying to leave an abusive situation.

Experts say financial abuse happens in 99% of domestic violence cases.

Jennifer Cacciapaglia, with the Mayor’s Office of Domestic and Community Violence Prevention, said Fellars was the brains behind the campaign.

“We’re here today because board member Fellars and her leadership really identified the need for additional support for survivors of domestic and sexual violence, who are facing court challenges,” Cacciapaglia said.

She added that the Family Peace Center has served over 11,000 survivors to date.

If you are a survivor of domestic or sexual violence, visit our Stateline Strong page for resources.