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What I learned about Peoria’s Center for Prevention of Abuse

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bradley U chapter.
Before I begin, I want to state that I am not affiliated with the Peoria Center for Prevention of Abuse. The information I’m providing is from both the presentation I attended, as well as directly from the Center’s website. If you, or someone you know, is dealing with a crisis and you want to talk to someone, you can reach out to them at (309) 691-0551, or you can call the national crisis hotline at 1(800) 559-7233. If there is a serious and immediate threat, call 911.

I had the honor to sit in a presentation that was given by Celsy Young about the Peoria Center for Prevention of Abuse (CFPA). Celsy is the director of marketing and communication at the Peoria CFPA. If you have any follow up questions or comments about anything discussed in this article, please reach out to Celsy Young. It was a real eye-opening experience for me since I am not extremely familiar with our CPFA. She went over a lot of really great information about what the center offers for those in need, including both locations and services, and how Bradley students can volunteer at the Peoria Center.

The Center for Prevention of Abuse began in 1975 as a Rape Crisis Hotline. From there, the center has grown to help women, children and men dealing with a crisis. It is now the only agency in Illinois that houses all the sanction services they do. Their sanction services include domestic violence assistant, sexual assault/abuse victim help, elder abuse/abuse of elders with disabilities, human trafficking and prevention education. 

There are two emergency centers that cover these; one is in Pekin and the other is in Peoria. It is important to note the Pekin location is called the Carol House of Hope, and the address is not disclosed to the public for safety reasons. However, you can find the Peoria CFPA’s address online as needed. If you are in need of a safe house, you should contact the Peoria location for further instruction. Despite there only being two main centers covering all those services, each individual service can go beyond the county to other parts of Illinois. If you want more information about a specific department, I would recommend contacting the center directly at the number listed at the beginning of this piece. 

Another thing that stood out to me during the talk, which I feel should be stated, is they also offer assistance for abusers. That may be as shocking to you as it was for me when I heard it, but it does make sense. Some abusers may know what they’re doing and want to stop, but do not know how. There is a course that is provided at a different facility than the main Peoria CFPA center for obvious reasons, but it is done through the CFPA services. Throughout a 26-week course, the abusers are taught how to move away from hurting others and better themselves. There is a focus on changing thoughts and behaviors, so they can live peaceful and safe lives. Thus, stopping the cycle of abuse. 

The shelter in Peoria is open to a wide range of people. Whether you are experiencing interpersonal violence and need shelter, a victim of domestic violence, dealing with hate crimes, a rape victim or any combination thereof. Professionals at the shelter work with the victim to create a safety plan for leaving the abusive relationship. They also help to decide how long the victim should stay at the shelter. On average a victim stays for 2 weeks, but they are welcome to stay for 6 weeks unless it is absolutely necessary to stay longer. We also discussed how the safety plan is figured out, including how open rooms close to an exit are the safest place in a home — rather than ones with only one exit (like a bedroom or a bathroom). 

As I mentioned before, there is a department of prevention education services. This is groundbreaking assistance for those who are young and starting pre-k, since there is no set age in which a threat of violence can begin. This education promotes a focus on prevention before the abuse can even start. They do this by talking about body safety in age-appropriate conversations. These conversations are especially useful since they are taught by CFPA experts in schools. This service can be particularly helpful because it can provide a resource to young children dealing with abuse. It gives them the opportunity to tell someone and receive help when they’re not otherwise able to since they are not independent yet. They continue to provide education as students get older. The conversations will begin to mature, meaning it is always useful and educational to those listening.

When someone goes to the Center, they are also assigned a personal counselor and case manager, both of which are used to create a connection with the victim. This is intended for the victim to know they’re valid in what they’re going through. If the counselor is not enough, there are also therapists on site that can be assigned. Beyond that, there are additional services that can be provided to individuals as needed. However, these services are not limited to only those staying in the shelter. For example, if you’re dealing with domestic violence and you feel safe enough to stay in your current house, but want to talk to someone about it to get help, you can reach out to them and go in for counseling without checking in to stay overnight.

There are several ways you can help the shelter. One of the largest ways to help the shelter would be through donations, whether that be monetary or otherwise. Some items they will accept include old cell phones as long as they will hold a charge (so a call to 911 can be made even if there are no more minutes), clothes, non-perishable food, etc. You can also volunteer at the Peoria Center by doing things like organizing pantries or helping to clean the grounds. The center also hosts multiple events you can volunteer for, such as a 5k run they are hosting on April 8 of this year. 

I highly recommend everyone look at the website that is linked in the beginning to get familiar with it in case you need it personally, or if you know someone who may need it at any point. Having a support system is extremely important, so being able to get yourself to a shelter to create support, or giving this information to those you’re worried about can help save lives. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1(800) 799-SAFE (7233) or visit thehotline.org

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, you can call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit hotline.rainn.org

Kylie Kruis

Bradley U '25

I am the current president at the Her Campus at Bradley University chapter. I oversee the general operations of the chapter, run meetings, and correspond with HCHQ. Beyond Her Campus, I am also the current community service exec chair for my sorority, Epsilon Sigma Alpha. I have been part of the organization since my freshman year after leading a volunteer group for several years prior to college. I am also the current community service outreach member for Bradley's psychology club, Psi Chi and Psych Club. As the community service member for both, I am constantly reaching out to other organizations in the community to collaborate on creating a better overall town. I am currently a junior at Bradley University in Peoria, IL, majoring in Psychology and English - Creative Writing with a minor in Women's and Gender Studies. In my free time, I enjoy hiking with my boyfriend, spending the weekend with my family and dogs, and writing short stories. I'm a new Bachelor nation fan and have extremely strong opinions about most people on them. I also enjoy several podcasts ranging from comedy to true crime. My passion lies with volunteering and being a leader for others whenever possible.