CHICAGO (CBS) — Each year, Chicago Police get about 200,000 calls about domestic violence, and nearly 40 of those calls end in a homicide.
That’s why the city is establishing a new domestic violence task force.
It will focus on state-of-the-art training for Chicago Police officers to help them develop more proactive responses to high-risk situations.
The city will also establish a new shelter that will provide services for victims and their families.
Twenty years ago, Deborah Graham was a victim of domestic violence. Graham says her husband was physically abusive and hit her repeatedly.
Today, Graham is a woman of influence, the 29th Ward Alderman sharing her very personal story.
“January 10, 1994 is the day I left my house running,” said Graham.
Together with the Mayor, Police Superintendent and State’s Attorney, they announced a task force to come up with new ways to protect abuse victims at home.
“Today, folks will be trained on how to handle the calls. They will be sensitive to the individuals calling. They will be coordinated services,” said Graham.
Taking a page from her own life, Alderman Deborah Graham says making the first call is hardest part.
“Don’t let the fear paralyze you, get up. Get up and find the help that you need,” said Graham.
Alderman Graham and her husband divorced and she says he later changed his life, stopping his violent behavior.
Wings Metro, which will be built in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood on the Southwest Side, will serve up to 100 families a year.
The Center For Disease Control says that across the country, one in four women experiences violence from a partner at some point in her life. The holidays are an especially dangerous time as the stress of the season and excessive drinking can lead to domestic abuse.