Mayor’s Office on Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking Prevention
Domestic violence and the growing presence of commercial human trafficking are threats to public safety and quality of life in our community. The statistics paint a grim picture:
- On average, domestic violence accounts for nearly 30 percent of Rockford’s violent crime.
- In 2016, Illinois ranked eighth in the United States for reported human trafficking cases, with Rockford ranking second in the state, behind Chicago.
- The City of Rockford Human Services Department reports that an average of 25 percent of our homeless population were without a residence as a result of domestic violence.
Mayor Tom McNamara spoke in great length about these issues during his campaign in 2016-17 and took action following his election in April 2017. To learn more about the current conditions, investigate regional and national best practices and propose solutions, he commissioned a report on both issues of domestic violence and human trafficking (DV/HT). That report was presented to City Council in October 2017, along with the recommendation to establish a Mayor’s Office on Domestic Violence & Human Trafficking Prevention. The City Council approved that recommendation several weeks later and a search began for an individual to lead the office.
In January 2018, Jennifer Cacciapaglia was hired as manager of the office. She is an experienced attorney, former member of the City Legal Department and a founder of the Rockford Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (RAASE). Cacciapaglia is working to coordinate the work of numerous agencies and organizations that touch these issues in the region and bring together resources in a comprehensive manner to better tackle the problems of DV/HT.