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What protections are in place for victims of domestic violence?

People in Illinois who live with domestic violence need to know what to do to protect themselves and other family members who might be victimized. It is possible to have an order of protection, a civil no contact order or a stalking no contact order. The idea is to stop the behavior and protect the victims. There are several options available depending on the circumstances.

With domestic violence, the order of protection can be issued to those who have been abused by a family member who is related by blood, a current or former spouse, current or former roommate, the parent of a child the couple shares or one with whom there is a blood relationship through a common child, a person with whom the person is involved in a dating relationship or is engaged and those with disabilities who are are being assisted by caretakers.

For sexual assault, the protection order will be for those who were victimized by sexual contact that was not consensual or if there was non-consensual sexual penetration. The orders are available for family or household members living with the victim and rape crisis center employees and volunteers. These orders can be emergency or plenary. The emergency order is for 14 to 21 days. The plenary - or full - order is for up to two years.

Finally, there can be a no contact order to stop stalking. For a person who fears for his or her safety or another's safety or is made to suffer from emotional distress, it is possible to receive an order that will prevent contact by the alleged perpetrator of these acts. With domestic violence, sexual abuse and stalking, the situation can rapidly get out of control so the victim is not able to live his or her life without fear. For assistance with these protections, relocation and any other remedy to the problem, it is wise to discuss the matter with an attorney.

Source: lakecountyil.gov, "Order of Protection, Civil or Stalking No Contact Order," accessed on Oct. 19, 2015

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