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Domestic violence: The actions you need to take to protect yourself

On Behalf of | Mar 29, 2021 | Family Law |

Every minute, an average of 20 people experience physical abuse by an intimate partner in the United States. That means that over the course of one year, more than 10 million women and men are harmed by someone they are in a relationship with. 

This statistic does not have to be part of your story. If you have been a victim of domestic violence, there are actions you can take to protect yourself and your family.

What is domestic violence?

In Illinois, domestic violence is a crime where a person physically attacks, threatens, harasses, or interferes with another household or family member’s personal liberties.  

Illinois order of protection

An Illinois order of protection, commonly known as a restraining order, is often issued as a legal barrier between two individuals, where one party feels threatened or intimidated by the other or has suffered harassment or abuse at the hands of the other individual. Typically, these orders are issued right before or during the process of filing a divorce, a child custody dispute, or as a result of domestic battery.

Once an order of protection is issued, the individual named in the order must stay a certain distance away from the individual specified in the report for a specific period of time. Generally, Illinois allows for the following:

  • “Emergency orders” that last up to 21 days
  • “Plenary” orders that can last up to two years, with possible extensions

When you work with an experienced family attorney, your lawyers can ensure that you qualify for a restraining order and that all necessary documents are filed correctly, getting you the protection you need.

Benefits of filing 

The Illinois protective order is advantageous for those in need and can help:

  • Prohibit the abuser from continuing to threaten the victim or abuse them
  • Prohibit the abuser from sharing the residence with the victim 
  • Prohibit the abuser from coming near the individuals indicated in the order
  • Prohibit the abuser from hiding a child or taking the child out of the state
  • Prohibit the abuser from accessing a child’s records
  • Prohibit the abuser from destroying, selling, or damaging any personal property

These orders can also require the abuser to pay the victim child support, compensate losses suffered from the abuse, and any shelter or counseling costs. Make sure you understand your rights and ways to ensure your safety if you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence.