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Group Takes Action to stop violence against women

CHAMPAIGN -- Experts say domestic violence and sexual assault issues have gotten worse over the years and there are many families suffering right here in Central Illinois.
CHAMPAIGN -- Experts say domestic violence and sexual assault issues have gotten worse over the years and there are many families suffering right here in Central Illinois. Community leaders are hoping to stop the violence cycle of abuse. WCIA-3's Anna Carrera finds out how they're Taking Action.

Their message is simple; "No more." It's a simple statement about a couple of very complex issues. The new task force is bringing together a lot of different people to try to find new solutions in the community.

"We had all hoped, when they started the officer for Violence Against Women in 1995, we were hoping, within a decade or two, domestic violence and sexual assault would be way down," said Nancy Hiatt, who is the executive director for the Center for Women in Transition.  

But that hasn't happened.

"I can see that this is a trend and we want to stop this before it gets any worse," said Douglas County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Peter Buckley. 

Buckley said these crimes have become even more violent.

"We recently took 52 guns from one particular male who had committed domestic violence against his wife," said Buckley. 

So leaders with the Center for Women in Transition are trying to put a stop to this nationwide issue. They started a group called "The Central Illinois Domestic Violence Task Force."

"This did not stop him from slamming the door on my arm repeatedly, until I heard it crack," said Jami Flannery. "And I fell on my knees in pain. Then he kicked me and I fell flat on the floor. Unfortunately my head was now in the doorway and he slammed the door repeatedly on my head until I passed out."

Flannery has escaped two abusive relationships; one with her father, the other with her first husband.

"I was left with a broken heart and a broken life," said Flannery. 

Now she's picking up the pieces and hopes to inspire many more to join her on the journey.

"It's time to break the silence and tell people," said Flannery. "Make them aware and help others."

There are a wide range of people involved including doctors, police officers, lawyers and social workers. They'll meet a few times a year with smaller committee meetings more often.

For more information, click here.
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