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February 9, 1999


SPRINGFIELD — Gov. George H. Ryan today released funding to the city of Chicago to support a new, 24-hour-a-day Domestic Violence Helpline. Ryan directed the Illinois Department of Human Services to release an $800,000 grant.

"Chicago police get hundreds of calls each day from women who are victims of domestic violence and abuse," Ryan said. "These women and their families need somewhere to turn for safety and a new start. The helpline will link domestic violence victims to the appropriate and available resources in their community."

Operated by the Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women's Network, this city-wide referral helpline will be a toll-free phone number exclusively devoted to domestic violence calls. It will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and will be staffed by certified domestic violence trained counselors. The helpline will accept inquiries from police officers, hospitals, prosecutors and victims.

"The helpline will offer support and hope for the women and children whose lives are shattered by domestic violence," said DHS Secretary Howard A. Peters III. "Most importantly, the helpline will coordinate existing services to help meet the diverse needs of domestic violence victims."

Domestic violence victims will receive information about their options and the services available through DHS-funded community-based service providers including shelters, counseling services, legal advocacy services, civil legal services and the criminal justice system.

The Department of Human Services and Mayor Richard M. Daley's Office on Domestic Violence are developing the helpline. Funding from DHS will be used to identify service providers and resources, conduct community meetings to educate the community about the helpline and the problem of domestic violence, work with communities to develop plans to address the problem, market the helpline and evaluate its effectiveness.

The $800,000 was appropriated by the General Assembly through the Illinois Department of Human Services. The funds for this project were included in the FY 1999 budgest at the request of Senate Minority Leader Emil Jones (D-Chicago).


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