Durbin, Bustos, Kinzinger, and Mayor McNamra Announce $450,000 In Federal Funding To Help Victims Of Domestic Violence And Sexual Assault In Rockford

New federal funding will allow Rockford to establish a Family Justice Center to provide comprehensive services to domestic violence and assault survivors

ROCKFORD – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), U.S. Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-IL-17) and U.S. Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL-16) today joined Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara to announce that the City of Rockford has received $449,870 in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women. The funding will allow Rockford to establish a Family Justice Center, which will provide comprehensive services to aid victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking.

“I am proud to announce that Rockford has received this federal funding to establish a Family Justice Center. This victim-centered approach is critical to reducing trauma and providing survivors and their families with the tools and resources they need to heal and move forward with their lives,” Durbin said. “I will work with my colleagues to ensure that the federal government continues to fund vital grants like the one we’re announcing today.”

“Everyone has a responsibility to eliminate domestic violence in our community and, by helping establish a new Family Justice Center in Rockford, we’re taking a meaningful step toward achieving this goal,” Bustos said. “When a survivor is going through the worst moment in their life, getting help should be straightforward and simple. By putting all of the resources needed to help people in one location, we'll make a real difference in the lives of countless families.

“I’m proud to join my colleagues here today to celebrate this great news, as we work together to make our families and our communities safer and stronger. A Family Justice Center in Rockford will help us streamline the system to provide victims the services and support they need,” Kinzinger said. “Ensuring our community has the resources necessary to reduce murder rates and criminal activities is crucial, and our community engagement is even more vital to bettering Rockford for the future.”

“Domestic violence accounts for one third of Rockford’s violent crime and I’ve made it a priority of my administration to reduce the impact this has on our community,” said Mayor McNamara. “The support of our federal legislators is vital to help us and we appreciate the work they did on our behalf to help secure this vital funding.”

The Family Justice Center (FJC) established with the help of this funding will provide victims of domestic violence with a single location to access resources and services. FJCs bring together law enforcement personnel, medical providers, prosecutors, social service representatives, and mental health professionals in a single location to provide victim-centered services to survivors and their families.

Specifically, Rockford will use the grant to:

  • establish a strategic planning committee to oversee the implementation of the Family Justice Center;
  • implement a multi-agency collaborative Family Justice Center that serves victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and human trafficking; 
  • implement protocols to ensure sex trafficking victims are identified and referred for services;
  • establish workgroups to implement the strategic planning committee’s plan; and,
  • support both a Family Justice Center Project Manager and a Family Justice Center Director.

Earlier this year, Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara created the Mayor’s Office of Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking Prevention to coordinate city efforts and comprehensively tackle the problems of domestic violence and human trafficking. According to the city, domestic violence accounts for approximately 34 percent of Rockford’s violent crime, and approximately 25 percent of the city’s homeless population were without a residence as a result of domestic violence. 

After a review of all juveniles arrested for violent offenses in Rockford in 2016 and 2017, the city found that 75 percent of the juveniles grew up in homes where domestic violence was prevalent or were direct victims of domestic violence. Additionally, in 2016, Illinois ranked eighth in the United States for reported human trafficking cases, with Rockford ranking second in the state, behind Chicago.?