Community members spent more than 10,000 nights in the Center for Prevention of Abuse safe shelters last year

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The need for help with domestic violence issues across the country has skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic and police logs have been full of arrests for issues involving violence in the home.

Leaders from the Center for Prevention of Abuse in Peoria continue to help those victims and survivors of trauma in Central Illinois.

“We know that every 15 seconds, five people are victims of domestic violence,” said Carol Merna, CEO of the Center for Prevention of Abuse.

In the past year, community members have spent more than 10,000 nights in the center’s two shelters.

“To be able to house individuals and families, to be able to provide them with food, healthy meals, counseling, therapy, safety planning. Whatever they might need to find a pathway to peace,” said Merna.

Merna said domestic violence is becoming a more common issue.

“We know that domestic violence increased during the pandemic, as it does in any crisis. So being available to our community has been exceedingly important,” said Merna.

From nights in the shelter to counseling and therapy, the center’s services are made possible by grants, donations, and fundraising.

“All of our services are free and confidential because of things like the Duck Race,” said Merna.

The Duck Race is a fun opportunity for community members to raise money and race rubber ducks. In 2019, it raised more than $200,000, helping to continue the center’s mission.

“Central Illinois is very generous and they know the value of the services that the Center for Prevention of Abuse provides,” said Merna.

This year, the race will look different due to the pandemic. The winner of the $10,000 grand prize will be announced on Friday during the 6 p.m. newscast on WMBD.

People who want to get involved can sponsor a duck.

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