Raising awareness for domestic violence victims

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- 61 people have died so far this year in Illinois because of domestic violence. Now leaders in Winnebago County step up to make sure these numbers decrease.

In Winnebago County alone, there have been over 3,500 domestic violence related incidents reported this year, although no one has been killed. Remedies Renewing Lives says at least 25 to 30 percent of the crimes reported in Rockford are domestic violence related. According to Law Enforcement, these cases are taking up almost a third of their time to address because of the full report they have to fill out on the case. Officials say speaking up is the first step to try to fix this issue.

"People are more aware that it's not okay, it's not a private thing. It is an issue that needs to be dealt with and it really impacts that community as a whole, not just the individuals who are involved in that relationship," says Lieutenant of Investigations for the Rockford Police Department, Kurt Whisenand.

"You know if there were a culture or community in this world where every single person in their belief system believed that domestic violence was wrong, it wouldn't happen in that community. We need to become that community because we're spending a lot of our tax dollars on domestic violence right now," says Remedies Renewing Lives Vice President of Operation, Karen Gill.

In an effort to help get victims the services they need to leave their unhealthy relationships, the Rockford Police Department is working on early intervention with domestic violence victims.