“Domestic violence is basically at the root of much of the violence that we see here on the streets,” says Father Dave Kelly of Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation, who works with at-risk and gang-involved youth.
“Most of the kids who we deal with, youth who are locked up, speak of the violence they had to endure a big part of their life,” he tells Adriana Cardoa-Maguigad in a piece that aired on WBEZ recently.
Cardona-Maguigad talks with a 16-year-old who witnessed extensive domestic abuse in his early years — his father is in prison as a result of it — about his struggles with anger. He loses his temper regularly at home, and he’s been arrested at school for getting into fights.
His mother has managed to keep him out of gangs, with the help of a mentor, Chicago Police Officer Rafael Yanez. In his spare time, Yanez runs Union Impact Center, a sports and mentoring program on the Southwest Side. But “the lure of the streets” is always there.
The extent of the problem is hard to track, but social service agencies say they lack resources to treat more than a small portion of the young people in need.