PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, and the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence released its annual domestic violence homicide report from 2022.

The report shows 57 people died in 45 separate incidents. One-third of the victims were 17 years old or younger. The most common cause of death was by firearms.

The Center for Prevention of Abuse, a Peoria-based organization providing advocacy for abuse survivors in central Illinois, is weighing in on the data.

Fran Reyes, the Director of Domestic Violence Family-centered services at the center, said it’s important to educate people about domestic violence.

“Bottom line is it’s a learned behavior, so if we can un-teach those behaviors to perpetrating individuals, we can prevent not just the homicides but domestic violence to begin with,” she said.

Reyes also talked about how domestic violence is an exertion of power over another person, and homicides happen when that power is taken to its conclusion.

She also talked about the fact that while the homicide numbers remain high, they have dropped since the COVID-19 pandemic ceased. She believes it’s because of the increase in advocacy thanks to organizations such as the center.

There is an event this Saturday at Pekin Moose Lodge in support of Domestic Violence Awareness month. All proceeds from the inaugural Oktoberfest event go towards the Center for Prevention of Abuse and its services.

If you are interested in learning more about the center and its services, you can click the link here.