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Domestic Violence Awareness Month

September 30, 2020 -- At the City Council meeting on Tuesday, September 29, 2020, Mayor Rotering issued a proclamation recognizing October as National Domestic Violence Awareness month. Domestic violence affects individuals of all races, genders, and ages. Drawing attention to the spike in domestic and intimate partner violence due to COVID-19, Mayor Rotering encouraged all community members to learn more about the signs of domestic violence and the many local organizations providing counseling and legal aid to individuals in need. Following Mayor Rotering's remarks, representatives of A Safe Place, the City of Highland Park, the National Council of Jewish Women Chicago North Shore, the North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic, and SHALVA shared information about the critical,  lifesaving services they provide.

It is crucial that we reduce the stigma surrounding domestic violence and facilitate access to resources that can save lives. Free and confidential help is available in Lake County: 

A Safe Place
A Safe Place provides a full suite of programs and services dedicated to addressing domestic violence and human trafficking in Lake County. A Safe Place assists victims in transforming their lives after violence,  prevents future abuse by addressing its root cause through abuser intervention programs, and educates the community about domestic violence and human trafficking, and how everyone can play a role in ending them. A Safe Place maintains a 24/7 crisis line, an emergency shelter, and housing, counseling, and courthouse advocacy programs, among others. A Safe Place remains operational during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Upcoming A Safe Place programs include: 
COVID-19 & Domestic Violence Community Panel (October 15, 2020; 5:30 PM)
Find a full list of programs for October here

A Safe Place's toll-free, 24/7 crisis line may be reached at 1.800.600.SAFE or 847.249.4450. A Safe Place staff may be reached at 847.731.7165 and 

City of Highland Park
Police Department social services worker Dr. Cynthia Plazas provides many support services to community members and liaises with the Lake County Court System to assist with orders of protection, counseling, and other needs. Dr. Plazas also coordinates with organizational partners such as A Safe Place and the North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic to connect individuals with housing, legal, and other needs. 

Contact information for Dr. Plazas is  below: 

Dr. Cynthia Plazas
Police Department Social Worker
(Contracted through Cynthia Plazas LLC)

National Council of Jewish Women Chicago North Shore
The National Council of Jewish Women is a grassroots organization working to improve the quality of life for women, children, and families. NCJW's main October event, Luggage for Freedom, will continue in a virtual format for 2020.

NCJW's Luggage for Freedom initiative provides gently used luggage packed with new towels, sheets, and toiletries to women leaving domestic violence shelters to start their lives anew. NCJW also provides backpacks filled with books and stuffed animals for children. While the delivery day will be October 18, volunteers are instead being asked to contribute dignity bag donations that can be dropped off at designated sites or picked up by NCJW members. 

Dignity bags of personal care products include one each of the following small or travel-sized products placed in a one-gallon Ziploc baggie:
  • Soap & Lotion
  • Shampoo & Conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste & dental floss
NCJW will have collection spots in many suburban areas. Collection dates are October 1-2, 5-8. Interested individuals should complete this website form to obtain the list of drop-off locations. The need is great, and any number of bags is appreciated. 

North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic 
The North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic provides confidential, accessible, high-quality, pro-bono assistance, particularly to domestic violence victims and those that wish to help them. The Clinic continues to schedule individual and family phone appointments for intakes and follow-up meetings.

Courts remain open for Orders of Protection or for other emergency relief and Clinic attorneys are ready and available to go to court if needed. Please help spread the word about these essential services by sharing NS Legal Aid Clinic's flyers in English and Spanish

The Clinic may be reached at 847-737-4042 or Visit the Clinic at  

SHALVA supports Jewish women experiencing and healing from domestic abuse through counseling, supportive services, and community education.  SHALVA provides free and confidential client services, including safety planning, individual and group counseling, financial assistance, and more. 

Show You Care, Create Awareness, Respond Effectively Online Interactive Tool
This free, interactive tool helps individuals learn how to support someone impacted by domestic abuse. It includes four videos to help individuals learn how to speak to someone they are concerned about. SHALVA can also provide support to concerned third parties. 

Upcoming SHALVA programs include:
Domestic Violence Awareness Month Kick-Off Event (October 1, 2020; 7:00 - 8:30 PM)

SHALVA's 24/7 Help/Crisis Line is available at 773.583.4673. Individuals can also reach out via email at More information about SHALVA's services is available at 


National Domestic Violence Hotline
Assistance is also available 24/7 via the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800.799.7233, online at, or by texting LOVEIS to 22522.

Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline
On Thursday, April 2, 2020, Governor Prtizker announced an expansion of services for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors. As a result, individuals can now call the Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline for shelter needs. IDHS is also working with the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence to establish an emergency fund to support local providers with assistance needs related to COVID-19.

Survivors of Sexual Assault 
Help is also available for survivors of sexual assault via RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline.