Some new signs are appearing around town in support of domestic violence victims.
The Naperville Police Department said they’ve seen an increase in domestic-related calls in March.
“To give you an idea of what that percentage looks like, in the month of March we saw just under a 50% increase in domestic-related calls in the year 2020, compared to March of 2019,” said Mike Son, Commander at the Naperville Police Department.
Because of this, Councilwoman Patty Gustin came up with a new campaign, “Naperville Stay Together,” and reached out to local faith-based leaders for help.
Naperville Stay Together
“We worked together on language. So the consistent signs would be ‘Naperville Stay’ and then the alternating sign would be the third sign, said Gustin. “So it could say ‘loving,’ ‘healthy,’ ‘kind-filled,’ ‘blessed,’ things like that. So just really uplifting, supportive words.”
Now, 20 faith-based groups are working to spread the positive words to remind victims they are not alone.
Metropolitan Family Services is also receiving more calls to their 24/7 hotline. And with the extended stay-at-home order, they expect the number to continue to grow.
“With the increasing pressures that people are feeling financially from job losses, furloughs. Just the uncertainty of what’s happening that starts to increase people’s stress levels and the amount of time people are having to spend together unfortunately is going to be contributing to increasing numbers,” said Amy Milligan, director of domestic violence services for Metropolitan Family Services.
The organization is still filling out paperwork for clients seeking an order of protection, and courts are still open to hear cases.
If it isn’t safe to make a call at home, Milligan recommends trying to leave the house to walk the dog or go grocery shopping for a moment alone.
Help and Hope
Whether you’re struggling with domestic violence or overall stress because of the pandemic, the “Naperville Stay Together” campaign is a way to spread hope.
“If we can help people by giving them just a shred of hope, we’re all for it, said Ed Poole, who is part of the Mayor Pradel Prayer group. “And those signs that Patty has talked about, wow. There’s somebody out there and we’re in this together and we’ll get through this together. I think that’s the kind of message we need to have.”
Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ and Ryan Skryd report.
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