Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined the Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network today to commemorate the beginning of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The Mayor, domestic violence advocates and survivors, professional allies, and community members honored those affected by abuse and recognized efforts to end domestic violence. Following the ceremony, the Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network led an awareness march through downtown Chicago.
“Domestic violence awareness month will help shine a light on victims who too often live in the shadows,” said Mayor Emanuel. “As the City of Chicago and its partners recognize victims of domestic violence, we will continue to raise our voice and support those who are making every effort to reshape their lives free from abuse.”
The Chicago Police Department responds to approximately 200,000 domestic related calls for service annually or nearly 500 domestic calls each day. Every year those incidents result in 30-40 domestic violence homicides in the city. These murders are often not random and result from years of ongoing abuse. Mayor Emanuel has asked the Chicago Police Department (CPD) and Chicago’s Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) to work together and come up with a smart strategy to responding to domestic violence.
Under Mayor Emanuel’s leadership, CPD and DFSS will focus on three areas as they work to end domestic violence: identifying high-risk domestic violence incidents and responding appropriately; developing state-of-the art training for Chicago Police Officers; and working with organizations such as the Battered Women's Network to increase access to services for victims of domestic violence and their families.
“Community members can take a stand against domestic violence in their church, in their children’s school, at their place of business, in their colleges and universities, and all places where victims or abusers are found,” Dawn Dalton, Executive Director of the Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network. “We are thankful for the community partners we have from across this city who are sending messages to abusers and survivors that abuse in the home is not okay. We invite everyone to find their role in ending domestic violence.”
Throughout his career, Mayor Emanuel has been committed to ensuring that victims of domestic violence receive the resources they need. In May, Mayor Emanuel announced increased services and Chicago’s first expansion of domestic violence shelters in more than a decade in partnership with the Women in Need Growing Stronger (WINGS), Metropolitan Family Services, and the Greater Southwest Development Corporation.
The new shelter will be located in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood and will be among the few shelters in the nation to feature a suite-based design that will serve 100 families a year while increasing privacy and comfort. Domestic violence victims and their families will also have the opportunity to take advantage of increased services in Chicago. The City has invested in court advocates to assist an additional 1,500 victims of domestic violence this year to help navigate the court system more easily and quickly while securing legal protections. These investments are a fulfillment of Mayor Emanuel’s 2013 budget commitment to provide additional services to domestic violence victims.
It is essential that every Chicagoan actively seeks to end domestic abuse of all types in the city. To report domestic abuse, call 9-1-1. For more information and support, anyone can call the domestic violence help line at 877-863-6338.
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