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Combatting Domestic Violence in Illinois

Posted on in Order of Protection

combat domestic violence, combatting domestic violence, domestic violence, Kane County family law attorney, order of protectionEvery nine seconds a woman in the United States is assaulted or beaten. In fact, the leading cause of injury to women is not car accidents, muggings, or rape. It is domestic violence. The abuse begins at a heartbreakingly young age: one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually assaulted by age 18. Internationally, one in three women has been beaten, coerced into sex, or somehow abused.

These are sobering statistics, and too often victims of domestic abuse do not seek help. Illinois takes the prosecution of these heinous crimes seriously. In nearby Cook County, for example, State Attorney Anita Alvarez recently announced the creation of a Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Division, which will focus exclusively on these sensitive and often complex cases.

An Order of Protection May Prevent Further Abuse

The Illinois Domestic Violence Act recognizes that domestic violence is not only a crime against an individual, but it is also a crime against society. Every person has the right to feel safe in his or her own home, and every person who feels unsafe has the right to seek government help. One thing that you can do as a victim of domestic violence is to seek an order of protection. This is a court order that offers protection from an alleged abuser and is only available to family or household members. An order of protection may:

  • Order the abuser to stay away from you, including from your home, work or school;
  • Forbid the abuser from continuing any threats or abuse (including physical abuse or intimidation);
  • Prohibit the abuser from entering a shared residence while under the influence of drugs or alcohol or prohibit the abuser from entering entirely;
  • Give you temporary legal custody and/or physical possession of children;
  • Prohibit the abuser from accessing a child’s records;
  • Outline visitation rights;
  • Require the abuser to hand over weapons to law enforcement; and/or
  • Require the abuser to give you specified personal property for safekeeping.

Typically, only a person who has been abused by a family or household member may petition for an order of protection. However, the law also permits petitions on behalf of a minor, dependent adult or high-risk adult with disabilities. The petition may be filed independently or in conjunction with another civil proceeding, such as an action for divorce.

There are three different types of orders:

  1. An emergency order of protection is granted immediately but lasts only 14 to 21 days. This can be granted without notifying the alleged abuser.
  2. An interim order of protection is temporary and may last up to 30 days. An interim order is typically granted during a hearing or trial.
  3. A plenary order of protection may last up to two years. This is only granted after the accuser and alleged abuser have the opportunity to present evidence in a hearing before a judge.

A person who violates an order of protection is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. A subsequent offense might be a felony.

If you are the victim of domestic violence, you are not alone. We can help you and your children, or other family members, seek an order of protection. Contact one of our experienced family law attorneys today. We can assist those in the St. Charles area.

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