Domestic Violence

By: Erica Hurtt
By: Erica Hurtt

That weekend shooting highlights the growing problem of domestic violence in Rockford and around the nation.

Domestic violence is not a new problem but it's a serious one, and tough economic times don't help the situation, creating tense times for stateline couples.

Each year nearly three thousand women and children seek help at one Rockford shelter because of domestic violence.

"The abuse escalates so what starts out as pushing and shoving turns into strangulation and slapping and punching,” says Andrea Carlson WAVE program Manager.

It can also turn deadly, while domestic violence is not a new problem, it's a serious one.

"Unfortunately they say the most dangerous time in a woman's abusive relationship is when she leaves that's the most lethal time. Their fear of leaving is very much a reality and they have a right to be afraid,” says Carlson.

Sergeant Dorsey Thompson oversees the newly created Rockford Police Department's domestic violence unit. The group seeks to intervene before it ends in serious violence like Saturday’s shooting.

"Though we do make arrests that's probably the last thing we want to do. We want to try to make it work for the family and keep it from getting to that,” says Thompson.

Thompson's unit links women and children with local medical, legal and counseling resources. It also helps women get protective orders against their abusers.

"It's a piece of paper but it's a court order. Though we can't guarantee that person won't get hurt if the abuser violates the order that person can face arrest,” says Thompson.

Nearly 2,000 protective orders were issued in Rockford last year for victims of domestic violence.

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Domestic Violence

  • While women are less likely than men to be victims of violent crimes overall, women are five to eight times more likely than men to be victimized by an intimate partner.

  • Violence by an intimate accounts for about 21 percent of violent crime experienced by women and about two percent of the violence experienced by men.

  • In 92 percent of all domestic violence incidents, crimes are committed by men against women.

  • Of women who reported being raped and/or physically assaulted since the age of 18, 76 percent were victimized by a current or former husband, cohabitating partner, date or boyfriend.

  • Studies show that child abuse occurs in 30-60 percent of family violence cases that involve families with children.

  • A child’s exposure to the father abusing the mother is the strongest risk factor for transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next.

  • The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that 1.4 million adults are stalked annually in the United States.

  • Family violence costs the nation from $5 to $10 billion annually in medical expenses, police and court costs, shelters and foster care, sick leave, absenteeism, and non-productivity.

Source: www.ndvh.org (National Domestic Violence Hotline Web Site) contributed to this report


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