Durbin Visits Rockford Family Peace Center, Discusses Center's Key Domestic Violence Work

The Center provides services for victims of sexual and domestic violence, and the first of its kind in Illinois, it has now served almost 1,000 survivors since its inception

ROCKFORD – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and one of the lead cosponsors of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization Act, today visited the Family Peace Center, which provides coordinated, comprehensive services to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, elder abuse, and human trafficking in Rockford, IL.  Durbin was additionally joined by Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara and the Center’s Executive Director, Jennifer Cacciapaglia.

“At a moment when nearly one in three women have experienced some form of physical or sexual violence—a crisis that's grown worse during the pandemic—it is more important than ever to dedicate state and federal resources to supporting victims and survivors,” said Durbin.  “I want to thank Mayor McNamara and Ms. Cacciapaglia for inviting me to visit today, and I look forward to working to ensure that the federal government continues supporting programs that give survivors and their families the tools they need to heal and rebuild their lives.”

“We’re thrilled to have Senator Durbin’s advocacy and support of our Family Peace Center,” said McNamara.  “With more than a third of our violent crime related to domestic violence, this facility is critical for our survivors and our entire community.”

The Family Peace Center—modeled after centralized, trauma-informed facilities called Family Justice Centers—was established after Durbin and Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL-17) helped secure a three-year grant of about $450,000 from the Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Violence Against Women (OVW) for Rockford in 2018.  In 2021, Durbin and Bustos again helped secure another 3-year grant of nearly $500,000 from the DOJ OVW for the city to continue developing and expanding the Center’s services.  The Center has now served almost 1,000 survivors since its inception and is the first of its kind in Illinois.  Additionally, the Family Peace Center implements youth-specific services, including school-based programming and social and emotional interventions focused on addressing the impact of trauma on children and teenagers.

In March, the bipartisan VAWA Reauthorization Act of 2022 was signed into law and included provisions that reauthorized all current VAWA grant programs until 2027, including the program that provided the grants to Rockford for the Family Peace Center.  The bill—which Durbin led along with Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)—also increased services and support for survivors from underserved and marginalized communities; improved sexual violence prevention efforts; strengthened the application of evidence-based practices by law enforcement in responding to gender-based violence; improved the healthcare system’s response to domestic violence and sexual assault; and included the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Denial Notification Act to help state law enforcement investigate and prosecute cases against individuals legally prohibited from purchasing firearms who try to do so.