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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — City leaders say that as the stay-at-home order comes to an end, it’s important to help domestic violence survivors get the help that they need.

Jennifer Cacciapaglia, Manager, Mayor’s Office on Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking Prevention, says, “It’s quite literally heart-sinking and scary for us to think about what’s happening and we just cannot wait until we have an open line of communication, where survivors feel safe reaching out and can get some space between themselves and the person that’s hurting them.”

Cacciapaglia says that despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Rockford’s Family Peace Center will open the doors to its temporary location on North Main Street in July.

“By July, survivors will be able to call one number and have an intake and be connected to legal services, counseling, counseling for their children, domestic violence advocacy. They can come to our center and get orders of protection through videoconferencing,” she said.

Local musicians Miles Nielsen and Kelly Steward are currently trying to raise $2,500 for the Family Peace Center.

During the stay-at-home order, they’ve been entertaining fans on Facebook as the characters Uncle Gary and Aunt Dottie. The pair says that if they hit their goal, they’ll swap roles for their live stream Saturday.

“It’s just important to raise awareness for this- all the time, but even more so with the stay-at-home. People are trapped, and they need to make sure they have somewhere to go,” Steward said.

Nielsen, son of Cheap Trick guitarist and Rockford native Rick Nielsen, says that he’s hopeful the Family Peace Center will be a safe haven for survivors.

“I think the big key is, in a lot of those situations, you have to go to multiple facilities, and you’ve already been through enough. At least the Family Peace Center, it’s sort of a one-stop,” Nielsen said.

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