Moments in our History: Police Officer Helps Woman Escape Abuse






In 1975, the actions of a local police officer were among the motivating factors in the establishment of Family Shelter Service. The officer had been called to one house for domestic violence incidents on many occasions and the bruised and battered woman was always too fearful to speak. One night, she was especially hurt, and seeing her with three children clinging to her skirt, he felt compelled to do something.

The next day, the police officer convinced the woman to leave with her children and he took them to the YWCA-West Suburban Area. There, YWCA staff members helped the woman find a trusted family to house her and her children until she could make other safe arrangements.

Working with the other social service organizations, YWCA staff discussed the problem with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, as well as social service staff members who worked for DuPage County. They took their cause to local police departments and the staff of hospital emergency rooms and mental health clinics. Everyone agreed. DuPage County needed a shelter for abused women and children.