Local leaders work toward reducing domestic violence with the Lethality Assessment Program

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- Rockford Police say they respond to more domestic violence-related calls than any other type of call. A new program is now in place that local leaders hope will reduce those numbers.

Circuit Judge Rosemary Collins along with other local leaders have been working on the Lethality Assessment Program for Winnebago County for the past five years.

"We have a commitment to ending domestic violence in our community. We are going to continue to work together to make sure victims are safe in our community and offenders are held accountable," says 17th Judicial Circuit Court Family and Domestic Violence Division, Judge Rosemary Collins.

Through the program, every officer who responds to a domestic-related call will fill out a form that asks questions to help them evaluate the situation and get immediate help for domestic violence victims.

In the eight days since the program launched, Mayor Tom McNamara says Remedies Renewing Lives has already received 61 calls.

"That immediate access to that professional training by our law enforcement is given and that immediate access and partnering with Remedies is so critical," says McNamara.

If the officer determines that that victim is in serious danger, they can connect them with the Domestic Violence Hotline at the scene and follow up with them the next day.

“By having us call them, we're kind of in their face, here we are, here we have services for you, please take us up on these services so we can try to break the cycle of violence," says Sgt. Mary Ogden with the Rockford Police Department’s Domestic Violence Unit.

"Everybody’s involved in this together and to see us all working together like that it's just reaffirming to me that the system can work better for people, that we are working better for people, and because of that lives will be saved," says Judge Collins.

This program is supported by a grant awarded to Winnebago County by the Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women under the Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention Demonstration Initiative. The county has secured about $1,800,000 of federal funds to prevent domestic violence homicides.