Area of Law:
Domestic violence is a particularly pervasive problem because it can go on regularly within the four walls of the home, which is supposed to be a safe haven from all the dangers of the outside world. Each state has its own remedies and methods for obtaining a solution; however, there is a similar general process that most states follow when dealing with issues of domestic violence.
Domestic Violence Order of Protection
Illinois law defines domestic violence as physical abuse, threats of physical harm, unlawful imprisonment, harassment, stalking, intimidation, and interference with personal liberty by a family or household member. The court will look at the existing relationship between you and the alleged abuser and make a determination as to whether or not your case is to be considered domestic violence.
Illinois law provides for a domestic violence order of protection for victims of domestic abuse. There are two types of orders: an emergency order of protection and a plenary order of protection. An emergency order, which lasts 14-21 days, may be given to you on the day you file your Petition for an Order of Protection if the judge believes you are in imminent danger. A plenary order of protection cannot be issued until the alleged abuser is given a chance to give his or her side of the story. The emergency order of protection will be issued for the length of time you have to wait until your hearing.
After you file your Petition for an Order of Protection, you will be given a hearing date, and the court will serve your alleged abuser with the appropriate paperwork that will notify him or her of the hearing date. After you and your alleged abuser are each provided with a chance to give your respective sides of the story, the judge will decide whether or not to issue a plenary order of protection. If your petition is granted, it will run anywhere up to two years, though you may apply for a renewal which may be granted subsequent to a hearing.
If, after your hearing, you are granted a domestic violence order of protection, it is likely to order the abuser to do the following things: stop contacting you; leave your shared home and stay away from your children; stay away from the school and workplace of your and your children as well as any other necessary location; surrender any guns and/or firearm owner's identification; return any personal property and avert from damaging any co-owned personal property; reimburse you for medical and legal expenses as well as for lost earnings, if any; undergo counseling; pay you child and spousal support; and anything else necessary to prevent further abuse.
Finding Domestic Violence Resources
The National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached at 1-800-799-7233 and is operational 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and in more than 100 languages. It can help you find nearby domestic violence shelters, emergency shelters, legal help, and social service programs.
The Feminist Majority Foundation has put together a database of national organizations that can help victims of domestic violence get relief from their abuser.
Resources for residents of Illinois who have been victims of domestic violence can be found here.