Experts share domestic violence warning signs, resources followi - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Experts share domestic violence warning signs, resources following couples' death

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ROCKFORD (WREX) -

Domestic abuse is a problem experts say starts out slowly before turning violent.  

"They isolate you as a victim, they start controlling every aspect of your life," says Circuit Judge Rosemary Collins, the presiding judge of the Domestic Violence Division.  

Experts say victims can go through the Winnebago County court system or even non-profits like Remedies Renewing Lives in Rockford to get help. Remedies Renewing Lives is one of several agencies in the area that works with the city of Rockford specifically on domestic violence. 

"This office is taking real steps for the first time in our community to get our arms around this issue and look at how we can as a community pull together, link arms and ensure that we are maximizing our impact in providing services to their families, and their children and also holding offenders accountable," Jennifer Cacciapaglia, the manager of the mayor's Office of Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking Prevention.  

One of the ways to hold offenders accountable is through treatment. Judge Collins says getting the perpetrator to the right resources is just as essential as getting the victim to them.

Those include classes at the Winnebago County courthouse that teach them what a healthy relationship looks like. However, Judge Collins says it's key the perpetrator makes the effort to change their behavior. 

"It's a choice by the offender to control through coercive behavior to control another human being. That choice can be reversed. They can get the treatment they need," she says. "They can make other choices."  

It's an effort to change Judge Collins says also falls on everyone's shoulders to try to put and end to violence inside some Rockford homes. 

"If we want our communities to be safe and healthy, then we need our families to be safe and healthy," she says.  

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