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Safe Passage Works To Prevent Domestic Violence Year-Round

A recent murder in Sycamore is bringing attention on domestic violence within the community.

37-year-old Lidia Juarez of DeKalb was found dead in her car outside the Illinois Department of Human Services, where she worked. Her estranged husband -- and a suspect in her death -- was killed in a shootout with police Friday afternoon.

DeKalb County records show Antonio Juarez violated an order of protection earlier this year.

Mary Ellen Schaid, executive director of Safe Passage, wants the community to know there are several resources available to people who come in contact with domestic violence.

“I think we as a community can do better," Schaid said. "If orders of protection could be enforced more robustly than they often are, that it would send a really important message to people that do these types of crimes.”

Safe Passage offers a 24-hour hotline, emergency shelter, and counseling services. They also help people obtain orders of protection.

“We stick with [clients] as long as they want us, and we go to all of the hearings. We don’t represent them; we are not attorneys, but we are advocates.”

She says the services are free and confidential and offered regardless of immigration status.

Jenna Dooley has spent her professional career in public radio. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University and the Public Affairs Reporting Program at the University of Illinois - Springfield. She returned to Northern Public Radio in DeKalb after several years hosting Morning Edition at WUIS-FM in Springfield. She is a former "Newsfinder of the Year" from the Illinois Associated Press and recipient of NIU's Donald R. Grubb Journalism Alumni Award. She is an active member of the Illinois News Broadcasters Association and an adjunct instructor at NIU.
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