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Illinois law for domestic emotional abuse and harassment

Domestic abuse can come in many different forms and it does not necessarily have to be physical. Emotional abuse can also cause significant damage. Often, victims in Illinois are not fully aware of how the law views these acts and what can be done to put a stop to it. Understanding how the law defines certain acts can be beneficial when considering getting protection through a restraining order. One way in which a spouse might be subjected to abuse is through harassment.

Harassment is defined under the domestic violence law as a person engaging in conduct that is not done for a reasonable purpose in the particular situation. This behavior can cause a reasonable individual to feel emotional abuse as a result. Unless there is evidence presented to the contrary, there are numerous acts that can be considered to be a cause of emotional distress.

The person committing the abuse might do any of the following: create a disturbance at the victim's place of work or school; continuously telephone the victim's place of work or home; make repeated efforts to follow the victim wherever he or she goes; make repeated efforts to conduct surveillance of the victim by staying in the area around his or her home, school or place of work; conceal a minor child from the victim or threaten to remove the child from the jurisdiction or care of the victim; and threaten physical violence, restraint or confinement once or more than once.

A person who is being subjected to violations of the domestic abuse laws might not even be aware that harassment of this nature is illegal. Seeking a restraining order can put a stop to harassing behavior such as stalking and other forms of emotional abuse. Whether the victim is seeking removal - otherwise known as relocation - due to the abuse or just wants it to stop, speaking to a lawyer can help.

Source: ilga.gov, "Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986 -- (7) 'Harassment'," accessed on March 22, 2016

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