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Domestic Violence Victim Information

Illinois Domestic Violence Act

Victim Information

Battery is a crime. Any person who hits, chokes, kicks, threatens, harasses or interferes with the personal liberty of another "family or household member" has broken the law. According to Illinois law "family or household members" are defined as persons who:

1. are related by blood or by present or prior marriage;
2. share or formerly shared a common dwelling;
3. have or allegedly have a child in common;
4. are of the opposite sex or the same sex who have or have had a dating or engagement relationship;
5. share or allegedly share a blood relationship through a child;
6. are disabled and battered by their personal assistants.

Law Enforcement Officers are to use all reasonable means to prevent further abuse, including:

1. arranging for or transporting the victims to a medical facility or shelter or place of safety and/or accompanying the victim back to the residence to get belongings;
2. arresting the abuser where appropriate and completing a police report on all bonafide incidents;
3. advising the victim of his or her right to an order of protection and the importance of preserving evidence, such as, damaged clothing and property and photographs of injuries or damage.

Orders of Protection

An Order of Protection is a court order available to "family or household members" prohibiting the abuser from certain activities or ordering the abuser to take certain actions. An Order of Protection may include, but is not limited to;

1. prohibiting an abuser from continued threats and abuse;
ABUSE-physical abuse, harassment, intimidation, interference with personal liberty or willful deprivation, not including the reasonable direction of a minor child by a parent or person acting in place of a parent.
2. barring an abuser temporarily from the home and ordering the abuser to stay away from the victim's place of employment, school, etc.;
3. ordering the abuser to pay child support, medical costs and legal expenses;
4. awarding child custody and prohibiting child abduction and requiring abuser undergo counseling.

To obtain an Order of Protection you may do any of the following:

1. contact a nearby domestic violence or legal advocacy program and ask for assistance. 
2. go to your local circuit clerk's office and request the necessary paperwork;
3. ask your attorney to file a petition in civil court;
4. request an Order in conjunction with divorce proceedings; or
5. request an Order during the course of a criminal prosecution.

If an Order of Protection is violated the abuser has committed a Class A Misdemeanor (Illinois) and should be arrested. A second or subsequent offense is a Class 4 Felony (Illinois). Notify your local police of any/all such violations.
You may seek an Order of Protection on behalf of someone who cannot because of age, health or disability.

Criminal Charges and Bail Bond Provisions

If an arrest has not been made and you wish to seek criminal charges against your abuser, bring all relevant information, including the police report number, to your local states attorney (Illinois). It may be helpful to first contact a local domestic violence program so they can assist you through the system.

When a person is charged with a criminal offense and the victim is a "family or household member", unless otherwise provided by the court, the abuser will be prohibited from contacting or communicating with the victim and from entering or remaining at the victim's residence for a minimum of 72 hours (Illinois). If a defendant/abuser violates these restrictions, you should/must call the police immediately. The defendant can be charged with an additional offense, violation of a bail bond, which is a Class A Misdemeanor (Illinois).

Illinois Domestic Violence Programs
Office of the Illinois Attorney General
100 W. Randolph St.
Chicago, Illinois 60601
1-800-228-3368

If you use a TDD and need to call a program that does not have TDD capabilities, your call can be completed, 24 hours a day, by calling the Illinois Relay Center at 1-800-526-0844. 

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