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Domestic Violence Victims Have Varied Legal Protections in Illinois

Posted on in Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence Victims Have Rights Against DiscriminationAnyone who is a victim of domestic violence must take the necessary steps to protect themselves and others who are vulnerable. This may include leaving your home and calling the police to press charges. You can receive a temporary order of protection as a legal safeguard against your attacker.

However, orders of protection are just one right that domestic violence victims have in Illinois. The state has several laws and resources available that can help you financially and protect you against discrimination.


After a domestic violence incident, you may need time away from work to take care of legal and personal matters. Illinois’ Victims Economic Security and Safety Act allows the victims of domestic or sexual assault to take unpaid leave from work without punishment, as long as the employer has at least 15 employees: 

  • For employers with 15 to 49 employees, the victim can take eight weeks off during a 12-month period.
  • For employers with 50 or more employees, the victim can take 12 weeks off during a 12-month period.

Your employer may ask you to show documentation of your case and the services you are seeking to prove you qualify for VESSA leave. Otherwise, your employer cannot punish you for taking time off, as long as you make a reasonable effort to inform them 48 hours ahead of time.


Domestic violence victims are protected from discrimination by landlords. The Illinois Safe Homes Act states that:

  • A landlord cannot penalize someone for breaking their lease if that person is the victim of domestic violence or is under imminent threat of violence. The tenant must give written notice to the landlord within three days after leaving.
  • If the victim remains in the housing and the alleged offender leaves, the tenant has the right to request his or her locks be changed. The landlord has 48 hours after the request to change the locks, and may charge a standard fee for the service.

Federal law also protects victims from be discriminated against when applying for public housing.


Any victim of violence can apply for financial assistance through the Illinois Crime Victims Compensation Act. For those who qualify, the state will reimburse as much as $27,000 in expenses related to the crime, including:

  • Medical costs
  • Relocation
  • Loss of wages
  • Loss of financial support
  • Replacement of property damaged during the incident

In order to qualify, you must have reported the domestic violence incident to the police within 72 hours after it occurred. You have two years after the incident to apply to the Illinois Attorney General’s office for assistance.

Legal Assistance

If you are a victim of domestic violence, you will not be alone in obtaining legal protection. Contact a compassionate Kane County domestic violence attorney at the Goostree Law Group by calling 630-584-4800


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