Candlelighting service

Piatt County DOVE Coordinator Liz Mackey says domestic violence is a problem locally, and has some numbers to back it up.

Since her role expanded at the agency to full-time status in August, Mackey said she has “assisted in 20 orders of protection” for county residents.

And while she has great love and admiration for Piatt County, the DOVE director notes that “as a community that stands proud in its reputation of being family friendly, we also need to stand tall, reach out and acknowledge and support those families that aren’t that friendly, because it happens in Monticello and Piatt County every day.”

That sentiment was expressed at a candle lighting ceremony on Oct. 24 at First Presbyterian Church in Monticello. The event’s goal was to shine a light on the issue during National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. About 20 people attended.

“This is the first time we (DOVE) have held a candlelight in Monticello. It will not be the last,” added Mackey. “This is an important thing for the community to do – to come together and recognize the unfortunate fact that domestic violence is happening here every day in our community.

“We’re here today not to mourn, but to remember those we have lost to domestic violence, and recognize and empower those that are survivors of domestic abuse,” she added.

The facts and figures kept coming as Monticello Police Chief John Carter took the podium. He noted a domestic violence incident occurs every 24 minutes in the United States, and that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced domestic violence, also referred to as intimate partner violence in law enforcement circles.

Locally, Carter said Willow Tree Missions, an agency whose goal is to reduce or zero out those statistics in Piatt County, will assist an estimated 56 domestic violence victims this year and spend about $40,000 in resources to accomplish it.

He told those at the candle lighting ceremony to be on the lookout for warning signs that include a partner who is abusive during dating, is verbally abusive, controlling, unable to accept criticism, belittles his or her partner, tries to separate a partner from friends and family, breaks or hits things when angry, has a history of abusive relationships, is cruel to other people and animals, and/or has unrealistic expectations in a relationship.

“So ask yourself. Am I in an abusive relationship? Does your partner frighten you? Do they try to control all the household money? Do they threaten to take the kids away from you? Do they destroy property and punish you? Do they hurt your pets? Do they slap, choke or hit you? Do they threaten you?” stated Carter.

“If you answered yes to any of those questions, you may want to talk to someone you trust about your relationship,” he added.

Willow Tree recently started a Facebook site as a clearinghouse for victim resources. It can be found by going to Facebook and searching for Piatt County Domestic Violence Resources or directly at

Help is available
Those needing help with domestic violence issues can contact:

DOVE: Liz Mackey, 217-762-2123 during the day or the 24-hour hotline at 217-762-2122. Walk-in services are also available at their office at 121 N. Main St., Suite 11, Monticello.

WILLOW TREE MISSIONS: Call 217-631-1018 during the day, and call Dove at 217-762-2122 after hours. A Piatt County Domestic Violence Resources page is available on Facebook. 

Categories (2):News, Social Services


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