As we become more aware of the issues and challenges surrounding domestic violence in society, both individual states and the federal government have adopted new laws and protections for victims of abusive relationships.
Domestic violence is defined as “a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner.” Domestic violence is a term that is used to describe threats or actions that are physical, sexual, emotional, financial, or psychological that someone employs in an attempt to control another person.
The Illinois Domestic Violence Act (IDVA)
The Illinois Domestic Violence Act (IDVA) is a statute that is in place in Illinois that establishes domestic violence as a serious crime. It sets forth who qualifies as a victim of domestic violence, what remedies he or she can seek for protection against this crime, and how he or she can go about seeking these remedies. It also lays out the steps that law enforcement officers must take in assisting victims of this crime. One of the remedies that IDVA established is an Order of Protection.
Order of Protection
An order of protection, or restraining order, is a written legal document signed by a judge. It requires an abusive family member to stop abuse immediately, and may also limit the abuser’s physical access to the home of the abuse victim. The purpose of this document is to put in place a legal protection to keep an abusive spouse away from the abused, with the goal of preventing additional violence in the home. Every case is different and an order of protection can be written up to address each individual circumstance to better fit the needs of the victim.
Just like any violation of the law, if the abusive spouse violates the order of protection, he or she can be arrested and put in jail.
Who Can Get an Order of Protection?
Any household or family member who is abused by another household or family member can get an order of protection. This means the protection is not limited to just spouse-to-spouse violence. Anyone living under the same roof, including the children of an abused spouse or their relatives, can be protected.
Judges have discretion over the granting of requests for orders of protection. It is the responsibility of the victim to prove to the judge that he or she has been or could be abused.
Where Do You Go to Get an Order of Protection?
There are different courts a domestic violence victim can go to in order to obtain an order of protection in the Illinois. It will depend on the circumstance of the person contemplating obtaining an order of protection. For example, if criminal charges have been filed or criminal acts reported to the police, then one can file at the Centralized Domestic Violence Court. If the victim is married and has filed, or is contemplating filing for a divorce but does not want to file criminal charges against the abuser, he or she can file in the Circuit Court Domestic Relations Division. If there are no criminal charges or activity and the parties are not married, a victim can also file in the Centralized Domestic Violence Court.
Legal Resources in Illinois
If you or someone you know is seeking family law support services, please do not hesitate to contact one of our experienced Illinois family law attorneys today. We serve clients in DuPage County, and we can help you with any of your family law issues. Contact us today.
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