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In 1976, the Evanston Police Department was one of the first police agencies in the area to establish a Victim Witness Advocacy Unit. From its inception the dedicated staff in this unit have worked tirelessly, being on call twenty-four hours a day, assisting victims of all types of crime. Victim Service Advocates facilitate counseling, arrange referrals, assist in non-crime related follow-up’s and provide victims with long-term court advocacy. Continuing in this fine tradition, the Evanston Police Department’s Victim Services Unit would like to bring attention to the pervasive problem of domestic violence, by highlighting a nationwide program specifically focused on domestic violence awareness.    

October is Domestic Violence Awareness First observed in October, events of remembrance and advocacy are to be held on various dates throughout October. This year, the Victim Services Unit has partnered with the Evanston YWCA and the Zonta Club of Evanston to bring awareness to Domestic Violence, through “The Domestic Violence Tears Project”.

The Tears Project represents the requests for service made to the Police Department during 2010. One tear for each response will be displayed at buildings throughout Evanston, as a symbol of these cases. The purple tears signify crime-related cases and the blue tears represent reported non-crime related cases of domestic violence. Statistical totals in 2010 indicate, there were 551 crime related cases and 538 non-crime related domestic cases.

Many instances of domestic violence go unreported to law enforcement and are therefore unable to be recorded statistically. In total 1,089 tears are being displayed in the Evanston Community to bring attention to Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Please look for the displays at the Civic Center, Police Department, YWCA, and the main branch of the Library.