Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office Announces New Program to Counter Domestic Violence that Will “Save Lives.”

view as a webpage

Lake County State's Attorneys Office


June 28, 2024


For Immediate Release
Contact: Sara Avalos
(224) 374-2376

Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office Announces New Program to Counter Domestic Violence that Will “Save Lives.” 

woman, man, woman standing in front of green wall in business casual attire

Damaris Lorta (left), Eric Rinehart (middle), Lauren Callinan (right)

(Lake County, IL) The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office announced today that it has been selected by a statewide committee to pilot a regional “Domestic Violence Fatality Review (DVFR) Team.” The team will work to prevent future domestic-violence related fatalities and to reduce the severity and frequency of domestic violence. Five regions throughout Illinois will each have one team as a pilot program.  

The Lake County Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team consists of Lake County State’s Attorney First Assistant Lauren Callinan and Executive Director of A Safe Place, Pat Davenport, as the co-chairs. Chenel Vanden Berk, a Forensic Nursing Specialist at the International Association of Forensic Nurses serves as the secretary for the team. 

“The DVFR will save lives by pressing deeper into the problem of domestic violence that has plagued Illinois for centuries. Innovative and urgent approaches are the way forward to ending domestic violence, and I am so proud that our county was awarded this pilot,” said State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart. 

Ms. Davenport stated “Thank you to the State’s Attorney’s Office for partnering and agreeing to lead the State of Illinois in developing a Regional Fatality Review committee. I believe that the process of fatality review will help us learn a great deal about improving our systems.” 

The Lake County DVFR Team includes 30 professionals from the community that have agreed to be part of this partnership. This group includes prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, probations officers, the Coroner’s Office, members of law enforcement, social service providers, offender treatment providers, a Guardian Ad Litem, DCFS personnel, nurses, substance abuse and behavioral counselors, and legal aid attorneys.  

The Illinois Domestic Violence Fatality Review Act was signed into law in 2021. Under this legislation, a Statewide Committee is responsible for overseeing the formation of regional domestic violence review teams across Illinois and providing technical assistance and support. The Statewide Committee will gather policy and system recommendations from each regional review team and make recommendations. The Committee will serve as a statewide resource for addressing domestic violence-related fatalities and near-fatalities. 

First Assistant, Lauren Callinan, shared that she is honored to co-chair such an important group. “Legislation like this, and support from so many different disciplines in our community, are important pieces in the work of eradicating domestic violence and domestic related fatalities.” 

The Lake County review team has already attended trainings offered by the Statewide Committee and held its first official meeting, where the Board was elected on June 23.  

The other four Fatality Review Teams have been established in Will County, Madison and Bond County, Rockford County, and Kankakee County.  

The Lake County State’s Attorney’s office has worked closely with A Safe Place since 1978 when the non-profit organization was founded to serve survivors of domestic violence. In 2022, A Safe Place and the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office were also awarded a joint grant to reduce Human Trafficking in Lake County. In 2024, State's Attorney Rinehart was selected to serve on A Safe Place's Honorary Board of Directors. 

Since December 2020, the Lake County State's Attorney's Office has increased the number of domestic violence prosecutors, total number of victim-support professionals, and Spanish-speaking victim specialists to improve the quality of service in all communities.   


Lake County State's Attorney's Office
18 N. County Street
Waukegan, IL 60085  
Phone: (847) 377-3000