History of the Illinois Family Violence Coordinating CouncilsThe Illinois Family Violence Coordinating Councils (IFVCC) was convened by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Illinois in 1993 and transferred to the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority in 2000 to enhance the management of IFVCC’s financial resources and operations. The IFVCC’s funding comes through the IVPA from an annual appropriation of the State General Assembly. The IFVCC is a non-mandated, informal organization composed of a state-level Steering Committee; 28 local family violence coordinating councils, with jurisdictions covering the entire state; and statewide projects that address systems improvements through collaborations of partners, professional education, and integrated-systems protocols.
Since 1990, twenty-eight (28) local coordinating councils have been formed in 22 judicial circuits, covering 102 counties. Cook County has 6 councils formed on the basis of its judicial municipal districts. Each local council is typically staffed by a part-time coordinator, hired by the chief judge, and funded through IFVCC allocations, which are managed through IVPA’s grant program.
Local councils emphasize prevention through strengthened services, comprehensive systems, coordination, protocol development, public education, professional training, data analysis, and information exchange. Local council membership is comprised of policy level and practitioner decision makers, representing the many systems that interact with family violence victims and perpetrators. Professions involved include judges, defense attorneys, prosecutors, law enforcement, probation, circuit clerks, victim advocates, nurses, doctors, social services professionals, coroners, animal control officers, clergy, school personnel, businesses, and housing authorities.
The Illinois Family Violence Coordinating Councils (IFVCC) is the only judicially led family violence organization in the country that operates statewide at both the local and state levels. IFVCC was intiated under the auspices of the Illinois Supreme Court in 1990. Judges convene and chair the local councils and the state council, which accounts for the organization’s ability to bring leaders of all professions to the table, provide greater access to services, and to inspire others with the possibility for improvements and changes.
The breadth of leadership from the various professions and agencies involved fosters greater organizational learning and creative approaches previously impossible when professionals in one discipline and one agency worked in isolation of each other. We have found that the initial conversations across boundaries are a powerful force for continuing dialogue, because envisioning and acting together is so meaningful and generates the trust needed to work and create together.
A comprehensive, coordinated approach to preventing family violence, since the 1970's, has been promoted as the most efficient and effective way to penetrate systems and mobilize them for the greatest change. Illinois is one of the few states that has systematically organized a statewide infrastructure based on a comprehensive approach.
We have shown through the IFVCC, this is a way that works to bring professionals together through time to work cooperatively and, then, collaboratively. It lays the groundwork for ultimately manifesting our best hopes and greatest possibilities to prevent further family violence, to prevent homicides, and to eliminate secondary damage caused by systems that operate in isolation and without access to the necessary training, relationships, data, ideas, and collaborative models.
The Complete History can be found on the Illinois Family Violence Coordinating Council's website.