Millions of men and women in Illinois will face domestic violence in their lifetime. Unfortunately, some of these men and women die at the hands of their abusers. Why does this happen so often?
Domestic violence victims are hesitant to reach out to the authorities. They are afraid of what might happen to them or their children if they asked for help.
Thankfully, there are resources available to protect domestic violence victims from their abusers. This allows them to make the transition from victim to survivor and live out the rest of their lives without having to look over their shoulders.
Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about getting an Order of Protection in Illinois. We will also discuss how orders of protection work and what happens if your abuser violates it.
What Is an Order of Protection?
An Order of Protection is legal documentation that protects someone (the petitioner) from the potentially violent behavior of another (the respondent). The documentation prohibits the respondent from carrying out certain behaviors, including abuse and harassment. It also prevents the respondent from entering the petitioner’s home, school, or workplace.
The Illinois Domestic Violence Act (IDVA) of 1986 governs the entire process. The IDVA requires that certain elements must be present to obtain an Order of Protection.
The petitioner must be a member of the respondent’s family or household, the respondent must be abusing the petitioner, and the court must have jurisdiction over the case. If any of these elements are missing, you cannot get an Order of Protection.
If you are ineligible for an Order of Protection, you might be able to get a Stalking/No Contact Order. This order has similar protection values without needing to be a family or household member of their abuser.
Order of Protection vs Restraining Order
You may think that you need to get a restraining order to prevent your abuser from coming after you. However, a “restraining order” only refers to a broad term for the civil court actions that prohibit a person from doing something. An Order of Protection is the legal document that protects a certain individual from their “Abuser”.
Different Orders of Protection
There are a few different Orders of Protection that you might get when filling, including:
- Emergency Order of Protection
- Interim Order of Protection
- Plenary Order of Protection
The Emergency Order of Protection is a form of protection that begins immediately. It lasts for 14 to 21 days. At the conception of the order, the judge will schedule the hearing for a Plenary Order of Protection.
An Interim Order of Protection is placed against the respondent between
This type of protection lasts for up to 30 days.
A Plenary Order of Protection is only given after the case is reviewed in court by a judge. This type of protection order may last for up to two years. However, this time depends on the court’s ruling and the final order. If it’s in conjunction with divorce proceedings, the order lasts until the marriage’s dissolution.
What Behaviors Constitute Abuse?
To constitute “abuse”, the IDVA states that it must include:
- Physical abuse
- Interfering with freedom
- Intimidating dependents
- Willful deprivation
Physical abuse refers to recklessly using physical force or restraint, forcing sleep deprivation, implementing the risk of physical harm, threats while using a weapon, or forcing unwanted sexual relations.
Harassment refers to any intentional misconduct that causes the petitioner emotional distress. This might include behaviors like:
- Disturbing you at work or school
- Calling you at work and home repeatedly
- Waiting for you outside of your home, school, or workplace
- Peeping into the windows of your home
Harassment can involve a respondent taking an action to scare the petitioner by taking away their child(ren). It may also include a threat to conceal the petitioner’s children or remove them from their home or city.
It is also considered harassment to yell at the petitioner or call them names. It can also be accusing the petitioner of infidelity or threatening to kill themself to make the petitioner stay with them. Any behavior that humiliates the petitioner can also be considered harassment.
Interfering with the petitioner’s freedom refers to actions that the respondent takes to isolate them from their family or friends. It can also mean that the respondent is restraining the petitioner with manipulation or physical force. The respondent might even monitor the petitioner’s actions or movements as a means to control them.
Intimidating a dependent refers to depriving a petitioner of food, shelter, medication, or medical care. This deprivation is intentional to cause harm to the petitioner. It can be physical, mental, and/or emotional.
Prohibited and Enforced Behaviors
An Order of Protection prohibits the respondent from acting out on certain behaviors, including:
- Threatening the petitioner with abuse and harassment
- Entering the petitioner’s home under the influence of drugs and alcohol
- Showing up at certain locations such as the petitioner’s school or work
An Order of Protection can also mandate counseling and therapy for the respondent. It can also allocate parent time or child support for children involved in the situation.
Petition Filing Process for Order of Protection
To file a petition for an Order of Protection, you must go to your local circuit court in Illinois and request a petition. You must go to the courthouse where one or more of the following is true:
- The petitioner lives there
- The respondent lives there
- The abuse took place there
You have to fill out the paperwork and file it with that circuit court before you see any results. Once the paperwork is filed, a judge will review your petition. The judge will decide if an Emergency Order of Protection is necessary and put that in motion. They will also set the date for a hearing for the Plenary Order of Protection.
Then, the “service of process” takes place. In this step, the respondent is served with a Notice of Hearing along with the current status of the protective order. No legal actions make be taken against the respondent until they are aware of the hearing and the Order of Protection.
Once the respondent is aware of the Notice of Hearing, a hearing will take place to determine whether the petitioner will get their order of protection.
This can be a confusing or scary time in your life. You might need to rely on legal assistance and legal resources. Prime Law Group is here to get you through each step in the petition filing process.
Who Can File a Petition?
The petition for an Order of Protection can only be obtained by certain individuals. While this is usually the person who was abused by a family member or household member, this isn’t always the case.
Someone else can file a petition on behalf of a minor (or an adult who is unable to file on their own) due to age, disability, or inaccessibility. A family member or household member must have also abused these minors or disabled adults. Someone else can also file on behalf of a high-risk adult with a disability who was abused, neglected, or exploited by a family member or caregiver.
What Is a Protected Party?
The term “protected party” simply refers to members of the petitioner’s family or household who witnessed the abuser’s actions and might be harmed as a result. It might include the petitioner’s minor children, roommates, or employees working/living in the home.
Who Are Family/Household Members?
The “petitioner” must be a direct family member or household member of the “respondent”. The IDVA declares that a family member is anyone related by blood or through marriage (past or present). This means a family member can be a spouse, ex-spouse, parent, child, or stepchild.
Household members can be anyone who shares a living space. This may refer to people who have a child together or it can refer to people who are dating and/or engaged. Household members can also refer to disabled individuals and their caregivers.
Any member of the family or household can be the abuser/respondent even if they are minors.
What to Expect at the Hearing
The court proceedings for an Order of Protection follow Illinois’ Rules of Civil Procedure (even if it involves a criminal matter). These cases generally have no right to a jury trial. Since they are usually expedited matters, continuances are only granted for good cause.
There are several factors the court system will consider before giving a petitioner an Order of Protection. They will look for any patterns in the frequency and severity of abuse to determine how likely the respondent is to hurt you in the future. They will also consider the chance of danger the involved children are in because of the protection order.
The judge will also consider all relevant factors that are needed to determine if the Order of Protections is necessary to protect the petitioner and their protected parties. They will look at whether or not the respondent is likely to cause harm and abuse unless the protection order will prevent it.
The court cannot deny an Order of Protection if the respondent has cause to use force against the petitioner, the respondent chose to become intoxicated to choose force, or the petitioner had to use force as a form of self-defense. The court cannot deny an Order of Protection if the petitioner failed to use self-defense or left their home to avoid further abuse.
What to Expect After the Hearing
The court’s final ruling can be reconsidered if the respondent claims that they weren’t given prior notice of the hearing or they have a defense to the Order of Protection or the decided remedies.
The Order of Protection can be modified until 30 days after the final ruling. However, modifications can still be made if:
- The laws surrounding civil litigation change
- The facts of the case change
- Further abuse occurred after the ruling
- Remedies need to be made for parenting/child support
Who Pays the Attorney Fees?
Illinois law says that everyone is responsible for their own legal fees UNLESS 1) false allegations were made or 2) faked denial occurred. If this happens, the responsible party will pay reasonable attorney fees plus expenses incurred as a result of the allegations or denial.
Enforcing Orders of Protection
What happens when the respondent refuses to follow the court order? An Order of Protection is easier to enforce and has harsher penalties than civil injunctions. If a respondent violates an Order of Protection, they can potentially face jail time and hefty fines.
A respondent can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor (or Class 4 felonies for subsequent offenses) for violating their Order of Protection. The Class A misdemeanor punishment for violating the order includes up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine, but the court can also mandate other penalties.
Disobeying the Order of Protection is considered contempt of court. The penalty for contempt of court is jail time of up to 6 months and a $500 fine.
Petitioners can receive monetary compensation for any damages the respondent might’ve caused by violating the protective order by destroying the petitioner’s property.
Order of Protection in Illinois
Domestic violence is a serious allegation and will not be taken lightly in a court of law. However, domestic violence victims have to be the ones to take that first step to get help from the authorities. If you find yourself in a situation where you need an Order of Protection in Illinois to prevent further attacks from your abuser, you’re in the right place.
Contact Prime Law Group, LLC today for more information on filing for an Order of Protection. We’d be happy to assist you.