Domestic Violence - The Law in Illinois

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

"Abuse" includes:

  • 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