CI Hero: ‘We believe you,’ Center for Prevention of Abuse sees higher calls to abuse hotline

CI Heroes

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD)– Central Illinois abuse specialists said home may not always be the safest place and the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t made those unsafe situations better. This week’s CI Hero highlights the people behind the Center For Prevention of Abuse’s 24-hour crisis hotline.

“[I’m] grateful that individuals know that we’re out there and that they seek assistance from us,” said Fran Reyes, the director of Domestic Violence Family Centered Services for the Center for Prevention of Abuse. “It’s comforting to know that we are here to provide those life-saving crucial services to people.”

Reyes is a 10-year veteran working in the domestic violence field. She said throughout the pandemic calls have been higher.

“We are here 24/7 and we believe you, so when you’re ready to tell us your story, we’re ready to listen,” said Reyes.

The center’s CEO, Carol Merna, said Reyes and her team keep the hotline open 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

“It’s really working with remarkable people like Fran, who not only is very skilled at the work she does, but she has a big heart and she’s going to help people find what they need,” said Merna.

Merna said a hero’s work betters the lives of others. She’s proud to have Reyes helping people live free from violence and abuse.

“The sheer terror of being quarantined with your abuser, and the volatility that happens when there’s financial crisis…or stress that comes with the pandemic or possibly losing a job,” said Merna. “It’s very frightening.”

All callers to the crisis hotline can remain anonymous if they choose. Reyes said the center provides free and confidential services regardless of a situation.

The crisis abuse hotline is: 1-800-559-SAFE (7233)

The Center For Prevention of Abuse’s Duck Race is Friday, Aug. 28. Right now, about 15% of ducks remain. Tune in to WMBD News on Race Day. Ducks race at 6 p.m.

The fundraiser is the center’s largest event to help central Illinoisans live free from violence and abuse.

Nominate someone you know to be our next CI Hero.

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