Story by: MATTHEW N. WELLS

DeKALB – DeKalb County States Attorney Rick Amato said domestic violence is the biggest problem in the county and wants anyone interested in helping end it to come to a two-day domestic violence training March 10 and 11.

Last year, there were 296 misdemeanor domestic violence charges and 139 domestic violence felony charges throughout DeKalb County, Amato said.

“Honestly, the No. 1 problem we have in our community for criminal cases is domestic violence,” Amato said. “Just making arrest after arrest without trying to change how we look at it, without addressing the problem, we’re just repeating a cycle.”

On March 10 and 11, in partnership with Alliance for Hope International, the DeKalb County Mental Health Board, Family Violence Coordinating Council – which covers DeKalb, Kane and Kendall Counties – and NIU Police, Amato will address the effects of domestic violence and the long-term effects of childhood trauma. The training for each day goes from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will take place at the Duke Ellington Ballroom inside NIU’s Holmes Student Center, 340 Carroll Ave., DeKalb.

Anyone who would like to attend is welcome, Amato said. They need to register online for the event at https://allianceforhope-dekalbsao-fvcc.eventbrite.com.

“Every day you look and there are multiple domestics. There’s not a day that goes by where you don’t,” he said.

Amato said the issue of domestic violence is something that affects everybody and should be addressed by more than only law enforcement. He encourages teachers, social service employees, spiritual leaders and medical professionals to attend the seminar.

“Anybody dealing with aspects of domestic violence is encouraged to come,” Amato said.

Amato said abusers who strangle their victims are among the most lethal.

Alliance for Hope International – a nonprofit that works with survivors of domestic violence, reported in 2017 that 33 of 44 police officers – 75% – who were killed intentionally in 2017 were killed by men with a history of domestic violence and often strangulation.

The first day of the training will show those who attend how to identify, investigate and prosecute domestic violence, with a concentration on cases that involve someone strangling a victim. The second day delves into trauma faced by children of abusers.

“What can we do to help those children from going down the same path?” Amato said.

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