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Know Your Domestic Violence FACTS

Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986 Updated: September 4, 2019

ABUSE is any emotional, mental, or physical mistreatment (including sexual), harassment, intimidation, reckless use of physical force, confinement or restraint which creates an immediate risk of physical harm.

“It happened before I even understood what was happening to me. Since the abuse I sustained was more emotional than physical, it was easy for me to make excuses for his behavior since there was no physical evidence, which in turn created a cycle that was difficult to escape. I often adjusted my behavior to minimize the chance of an abusive response – which was just as degrading and damaging. Time went by so fast. Before I knew it I had been in that abusive relationship for 15+ years and our daughter was in high school. The only difference now was that I finally loved myself enough to realize that the life I was living was not going to be the story of the rest of my life.” ~ My story

60/102. Purposes; rules of construction

The ACT was constructed to:

· Recognize domestic violence as a serious crime against the individual which produces family

disharmony in thousands of Illinois families, promotes a pattern of escalating violence which

frequently results in homicide, and creates an emotional atmosphere that is not conducive to

healthy childhood development.

· Support the efforts of victims of domestic violence to avoid further abuse by promptly entering and diligently enforcing court orders which prohibit abuse and, when necessary, reduce the abuser’s access to the victim and address any related issues of child custody and economic support, so that victims are not trapped in abusive situations by fear of retaliation, loss of a child, financial dependence, or loss of accessible housing or services.

60/103. Definitions – What is Harassment

HARASSMENT is conduct which would cause a reasonable person emotional distress; and does cause emotional distress to the petitioner.

· creating a disturbance at petitioner’s place of employment or school;

· repeatedly telephoning petitioner’s place of employment or home;

· repeatedly keeping petitioner under surveillance by remaining present outside his or her home, school, place of employment, vehicle or another place occupied by petitioner;

· improperly concealing a minor child from petitioner or repeatedly threatening to improperly remove a minor child of petitioners from the jurisdiction or from the physical care of petitioner; or

· threatening physical force, confinement or restraint on one or more occasions.

60/201. Who it protects?

The ACT PROTECTS any person or high-risk adult with disabilities abused, neglected, or exploited by a family or household member.

60/203. Pleading; non-disclosure of address; non-disclosure of schools

If the petition states that disclosure of petitioner’s residential address and/or location of minor child school would risk abuse of petitioner or any member of petitioner’s family or reveal the confidential address of a shelter for domestic violence victims, that address may be omitted from all documents filed with the court.

For more detailed information on the domestic violence laws in Illinois or in any other state across the United States, please visit or contact me directly at

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