Domestic violence in the United States is a serious issue that can threaten mental, physical, and emotional health. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), 41.5% of women and 25.9% of men living in Illinois have or will experience some form of domestic violence in their lifetime. The lasting psychological and potentially life-threatening physical effects of violence are serious, and victims should know how to remove themselves from a dangerous situation safely. Orders of Protection are available to help protect victims from their abusers.
To obtain an Order of Protection against an abuser, a victim must file a petition for a hearing. It is essential to have all of the proper evidence to explain to a judge the situation in which an Order of Protection is necessary. If you are looking to submit a petition, you should include:
The dates of each incident
An explanation of each incident and the harm that occurred
Where the abuse has occurred
If there were any other parties involved or aware of the abuse
If there are any previous police reports
Why you are choosing to come forward at this time
Illinois offers an Emergency Order of Protection, which is essentially an expedited protective order that will last between 14 to 21 days to give the victim enough time to find a safe place to petition for a court hearing.
Another option for victims is to apply for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO). A TRO is different from a protective order in its duration and what it protects. A restraining order typically protects both individuals as well as their property. For example, a restraining order can prevent a spouse from using the car or entering the home. However, a protective order is typically used for abusive situations. The legal consequences for violating a protective order are more severe than breaking a restraining order. Violating a protective order is a Class A misdemeanor. Violating an Emergency Order of Protection can be charged as a federal offense.
If you are in an abusive situation and need protection, there are steps you can follow to get to a safe space. Here are the steps to follow:
Find a safe space to stay with a trusted family, friend, or a domestic violence shelter
Ensure all of your belongings are safe
File a petition for protection on paper or over electronic documents available
Reach out to an attorney who can help you obtain and maintain a protective order
At J. Aldrich Law, P.C., we understand the importance of removing yourself from an abusive situation. Understanding all of the steps necessary to get to safety can be challenging, so our DuPage County family law attorneys are here to navigate you through the legal process. We offer a free initial consultation to discuss the details of your situation. Please call 630-953-3000 to schedule an appointment with us today.