In the last decade, government’s response to this
societal problem has increased, both in effort and in
effectiveness. The Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986 ushered
in a new era for our state. Recent Supreme Court rulings have put
more "teeth" into the law by effectively mandating that law
enforcement act to protect victims of domestic abuse.
According to Illinois law, police officers must take steps to
protect a victim of domestic abuse whenever a "family or
household member" has committed any act of "abuse."
"Family or Household Member" includes:
spouses and former spouses
parents, children and stepchildren
persons who formerly shared the same home
persons who dated or were engaged, regardless of gender
persons who allegedly have a child in common
persons with disabilities and their personal assistants
physical abuse (pushing, hitting, forced sex, not allowing
you to leave)
harassment (creating a disturbance at your job, repeatedly
telephoning, following or watching you, preventing you from
seeing your child, threatening to hurt you)
making a child or other person watch abuse
forcing you to do something you don’t want to do
denying a disabled person access to needed care
and Myths About Domestic Violence
Facts About Domestic Violence
Every 15 seconds in the U.S. a woman is beaten.
Domestic violence results in more injuries that require
medical attention than rape, accidents and muggings
Two in five women who are murdered are killed by their
At least 95 percent of all cases of partner abuse involve a
man beating a woman.
Woman abuse happens in all classes and races. It occurs at
every level of income and education.
Violence in the home usually becomes more frequent and severe
over time. The abuser’s apologies do not mean the violence
will not occur again.
Children who grow up in violent homes come to believe that
violence is normal. They come to believe that it is an acceptable
way to control someone else. The majority of adult violent
prisoners were raised in violent homes.
Violence is often part of a pattern of threats, insults,
insane jealousy, explosive temper, and attempts to isolate and
overpower the woman.
Myths About Domestic
A man's home is his castle. No one should interfere with the family.
Battery is a crime! No one has the right to beat
A woman who gets beaten brings it upon herself by
nagging or provoking her spouse.
People are beaten for reasons as ridiculous as: the
dinner is cold; the TV was turned to the wrong channel; the baby
was crying. Abusive people refuse to control their violent
impulses. Even where the person may have reason to be angry, they
have no right to express their anger violently.
A person who stays with an abuser after being
beaten must like to be beaten.
Being beaten hurts and no one likes it. There are
many reasons why victims remain with abusers including their fear
of further violence, the financial hardship of leaving, religious
reasons, their emotional attachment to their partners, and their
belief that families should stay together.
Domestic Violence - What Can You Do?
Orders of Protection
An Order of Protection is a legal order from a judge used to
help protect victims of domestic abuse. It contains "remedies"
which order an abuser to take certain actions or prohibits him
from taking certain actions. The abuser, listed as the
"respondent," can be arrested for violating certain remedies
listed in an order of protection. A protected person cannot be
arrested for violating an Order of Protection.
How to Obtain an Order of Protection:
An order of protection is available to family or household
members who have suffered domestic abuse. Request an Order of Protection by:
Contacting a local domestic violence program and asking for
help. To locate the nearest program, call 1-800-799-SAFE(7233).
Going to the local circuit clerk’s office and asking
Asking an attorney to file a petition in civil court (such as
Requesting an order after criminal charges have been
What if You Decide to Stay?
Staying in an abusive relationship can be dangerous. If you decide to stay, consider
these safety tips:
Change the locks.
Install a security system, smoke alarms and outside lights.
Pre-program emergency numbers into the telephone.
Tell neighbors and ask they call police right away if they see the abuser.
Notify work and try to arrange for your calls to be screened.
Report any violation of the Order of Protection right away. Call 9-1-1.
What if You Decide to Leave?
Leaving an abusive relationship, even for a short time, can be
difficult and dangerous. Leaving can be made easier and safer
when you involve police and victim advocates and remember to
bring along the following items:
Money, your checkbook, credit cards, ATM cards
Identification (for self and the children): birth
certificates, social security cards, welfare I.D., school and
work I.D., green cards, work permits, etc.
Important papers such as your divorce papers; school records;
lease, rental agreement or house deed; and insurance papers
Order of Protection–if you have one, keep it with you
at all times.
Medications (prescription and over-the-counter)
Keys for car, house and work
Change of clothing
Mortgage/rent payment book
Current unpaid bills
Pictures or other items of sentimental value
Children’s favorite toys, blankets or other items
The Domestic Violence Cycle
Is This Happening in Your Relationship?
Domestic violence is when one person tries to control another. It is a cycle which repeats itself.
Once a violent act takes place in a relationship, the violence almost always reoccurs. In fact, it tends to get more severe. In the event of physical abuse:
Get medical attention for any injuries.
Save anything that proves your side of the story(evidence).
Have someone take photographs of your injuries and any damage.
Give your child's teachers a copy of the Order of Protection.
Domestic Violence - What Must Police Do?
Police officers must take action to protect the victim of
domestic abuse. This includes:
Arrest the abuser when there is enough
information to believe a crime has been committed.
Accompany victim to remove personal belongings
from their home and provide for the victim's transportation
to a safe place.
Inform victim of the procedures and relief
available and their right to file charges against the abuser
Complete a police report and provide the
officer's name and ID# to victims.