ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) – Rockford’s Family Peace Center, created to administer aid to domestic violence victims, opened just over one year ago. It has helped more than 400 people so far, and organizers say the need is only growing.
Nearly half of the violent crimes in the city are domestic related so far this year, according to recently release statistics from the Rockford Police Department.
The number is up five percent from the same time last year, at 41.5%
However, Jennifer Cacciapaglia, the Executive Director of the Mayors Office of Domestic Violence Prevention, said the fact that her office sees more people means they’re coming forward to get help.
“If we are doing this work right, we will see [the number of people we help] go up,” Cacciapaglia said. “We wanted to see the numbers go up. I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but we knew more was happening. We knew not everyone was calling, and we really wanted to make it safe enough for more people to feel like they could call. When you look at our crime stats where domestic violence occurs in our community, you see it showing up in every single ward in our city.”
Cacciapaglia said that there are no stereotypes when it comes to domestic violence, and while it may present itself differently, it can happen to anyone.
“It is not a socioeconomic factor. It is not race or gender [specific] in terms of interpersonal relationships. It is not tied to any specific ethnicity. It is, without question, something that surpasses all demographics in all areas of our community,” Cacciapaglia said.
The Family Peace Center, 315 N. Main Street, works everyday to gain survivor’s trust.
“I would encourage you, anyone who is listening to this, who is wondering, to lean into the support system around you, and again if you do not feel comfortable doing that, reach out to the Family Peace Center, or another advocate, and really ask them to hold space for you because you deserve it,” Cacciapaglia said.
Cacciapaglia said that not only have more people been calling for help, they have also seen a large increase of support from the community, and that gives her hope.