PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The Illinois Supreme Court is taking new action on domestic violence. This week, the court announced the creation of a committee focused on the issue.
The statistics surrounding domestic violence are sobering.
“One in three women and one in seven men will experience domestic violence in a personal relationship at some point in their life,” said Vickie Smith, executive director of Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
During its most recent annual report, the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence found that 78 homicides were connected to domestic violence. The next report is expected to show a problem that’s worsening.
“The numbers are much higher this year than they’ve been in the past few years,” Smith said.
This week, the Illinois Supreme Court announced the formation of a coalition of judges, domestic violence prevention organizations, and other leaders to tackle the issue.
“A lot of it is going to be us getting to learn what’s going on in different areas of the state and looking at the new laws that are coming into effect,” said 17th Judicial Circuit Associate Judge Jennifer Clifford.
Clifford is the chairperson of the committee and said it’s about better helping victims.
“What support do survivors need to get out of that situation, especially their children so they’re not growing up in homes with domestic violence,” Clifford said.
She also said the committee will discuss ways to ensure those that are responsible for domestic violence don’t cause more harm.
“What resources can we provide to offenders, many of whom grew up with trauma and grew up in violence,” Clifford said.
Smith said she hopes the committee paves the way for courts to become a better safety resource and that the formation of the group is already a success.
“It’s a big step forward for Illinois courts,” Smith said.
The committee is expected to meet for the first time in January.