BLOOMINGTON -- Morgan Hartrich's mother died in her arms in April 2002 after she was beaten by her boyfriend.
On Tuesday, Hartrich, 29, of Normal, hoped her mother's story would inspire at least one woman to get out of an abusive relationship.
Hartrich spoke during a day-long domestic violence conference at Illinois Wesleyan University. "It's Time to Talk Day" was sponsored by the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence and 29 other local organizations.
At least 250 people attended, twice last year's number, said alliance executive director Kim Wells.
McLean County State's Attorney Bill Yoder said domestic violence cases have become more violent and that increased stress because of the recession -- resulting in alcohol and drug abuse -- may be one trigger.
Deb White, director of Mid Central Community Action's Countering Domestic Violence Program, said the Bloomington-based program served 852 adults and 97 child victims through 12,881 contacts -- 37 more victims and 1,905 more contacts than during the prior fiscal year.
Exposure to domestic violence results in people who have problems with relationships, conflict management and anxiety, weakening the fabric of society, said Diane Zosky, associate professor of social work at Illinois State University.
Hartrich said her mother had been beaten by her boyfriend and Hartrich convinced her to live with Hartrich and her husband. But when the boyfriend called to say he was in a Pontiac hotel and was going to kill himself, Nancy Kinkade went to him. He was intoxicated and beat her with a hotel room chair. He was convicted of second-degree murder but was released from prison last year.
Wells and White said anyone who suspects that someone is in an abusive relationship should talk with that person privately, tell them you're concerned, ask whether they're safe and give them the hot line number, 309-827-7070.