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Nearly a million dollars in grants support domestic violence survivors in Winnebago County

City of Rockford receives $499,999 for Family Peace Center while Winnebago County’s Domestic Violence Coordinated Court receives $413,000.
Published: Oct. 4, 2021 at 9:02 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - The City of Rockford gets a nearly $500,000 boost to help in its fight against domestic violence, and help survivors get back on track toward a better life.

“Our goal is to keep victims safe and hold offenders accountable,” said Winnebago County’s Domestic Violence Coordinated Court Deputy Administrator Nicole Ticknor.

For the Rockford Family Peace Center, that means 525 survivors since July of 2020. With the number of domestic violence cases rising, every dollar in funding for the center is worth another second of safety for someone in the community.

“Domestic violence is nearly 45 percent of our violent crime rate on any given day in Rockford, Illinois,” said Rockford Domestic and Community Violence Prevention Executive Director Jennifer Cacciapaglia.

The center recently received a grant for $499,99, allowing leaders to launch projects planned since 2018. Cacciapaglia said the initiatives surround improving the criminal justice response to survivors of domestic and sexual violence. The projects include preventing defendants from contacting survivors from jail, a human trafficking task force, and a sexual assault response team. The multidisciplinary human trafficking task force will be headed by law enforcement.

“We really need to, as a community, start to look at how we can get in front of that,” said Cacciapaglia. “Because, there’s plenty of opportunities in those spaces to add additional criminal charges to those defendants.”

Research is key for these projects. This recent grant, combined with another one received by the Winnebago County’s Domestic Violence Coordinated Court for $413,000, will help in collecting the much needed data. The center often partners with the court.

“Due to the efforts of our Domestic Violence Coordinated Court help survivors feel more safe? Is there less re-victimization if they’re engaged with our court?” said Ticknor.

Ticknor says the research will help ensure the systems in place to protect the survivors are effective.

“Quite often, the court process is something that happens behind the scenes, but it is a large part of our community’s response to domestic violence,” said Ticknor.

The domestic violence courts are the busiest court rooms every week, according to Ticknor. She said the research will contribute to training judges across the country for domestic violence and sexual assault cases.

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