Elgin center offers shelter, counseling to abuse victims
By Janelle Walker For The Courier-News October 17, 2012 9:22PM
Community Crisis Center
24-hour crisis intervention hotline, and information and referral
Updated: November 19, 2012 3:34PM
ELGIN — There are many reasons why victims of domestic violence refuse to testify against their abuser, said Kim Schellin-Rog, domestic violence program coordinator at the Community Crisis Center.
For many victims — both men and women — it might come down to loving the person who hurt them.
Victims also might be pressured by the abuser or the abuser’s family to drop the charges. There are other pressures as well, Schellin-Rog said.
“They love the good times, when there is no violence,” she said. “They go back because of children. They go back due to financial reasons.”
And in the current, still-depressed economy, some victims just don’t know where to go or what they can do if they leave. “They think that they still have a place to live — and where are they going to go,” if they leave.
Elgin’s crisis center offers shelter for those women. For up to six weeks, a woman and her children can stay at the shelter while getting counseling and legal advocacy, Schellin-Rog said. The center does not have shelter services for men but does offer counseling and other services for male domestic violence victims.
Legal advocacy can be helping the victim get an order of protection from the abuser, she said. It can also be staying with the victim while waiting to testify at court.
“We can help them, give them support leading up to the trial. On the day they have to testify, we will sit with them, in the courtroom, when they don’t have anybody else, and be a friendly face,” she said.
Domestic violence victims don’t just come to the crisis center after an incidence of violence, Schellin-Rog said. Some victims start dropping in as they look for ways out of the abusive relationship.
And some do go back once the initial crisis has passed, she said. “The crisis has ended for that moment, and they don’t feel they need the order of protection anymore. Time has passed, and now the behavior of the abuser is better,” Schellin-Rog said.
“They need to realize that they cannot change their abuser — the abuser has to make the decision to change themselves,” she said.
Victims seek help when “they don’t want to live with the violence in their life any more.”