It is important to know that if you fall victim to domestic violence that you can act, even during the Covid-19 crisis. The circuit courts are open for emergency hearings. This means that if you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence they have the right to file a Petition for an Order of Protection and have it heard as an emergency before a circuit court judge. The Illinois stay-at-home order specifically states that one is permitted to leave their home to file a Petition for an Order of Protection. With this national health issue affecting our communities, one must not feel compelled to live through continued abuse. Acting now can protect you and your children from further abuse. There is NO CHARGE and no fees for filing an order of protection and these orders are served by the local Sheriff’s Office.
Domestic violence is nothing new to our communities. The NextLevel Law, P.C. team is dedicated to assisting survivors of this horrific act. Specifically, our firm continuously grows our expertise to assist by way of the courts through the use of orders of protection (restraining orders) and no-contact orders. Our principal attorney, Daniel R. Hernandez, has participated in in-depth training on domestic violence. He also serves as Vice-President of the Board of Directors at Between Friends, a Chicago based not-for-profit agency that assists survivors of domestic violence by way of free social services and counseling. For more information on resources for survivors of domestic violence visit the Between Friends website. You may also call the Between Friends 24-hour Crisis Hotline. If you would like a free consultation with our firm, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Below is more information about orders of protection from the Cook County Domestic Violence Court page.
What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence is any physical, emotional, or sexual abuse of a household or family member by another.
Who can be protected?
The IDVA (Illinois Domestic Violence Act) defines household or family members who can be protected as follows: spouses, former spouses, parents, children, stepchildren and other persons related by blood or by a present or prior marriage, persons who share or formerly shared a common dwelling, persons who have or allegedly have a child in common, persons who share or allegedly share a blood relationship through a child, persons who have or have had a dating or engagement relationship, persons with disabilities and their personal assistants, caregivers and high-risk adult with disabilities. 50 ILCS 60/201 and 750 ILCS 60/103(6)(8).
What is an Order of Protection?
An Order of Protection is a court order signed by a judge. It is designed to protect a petitioner (the person who has been hurt) from the respondent (the person who hurt the petitioner.)
How can I file an Order Protection?
If you wish to file criminal charges, the Cook County State’s Attorney will represent you. You may start the process with your local police, the State’s Attorney, at your local court criminal division or with an appropriate advocate group or shelter, like Between Friends Court Advocates.
Criminal charges may result in the arrest, conviction, and sentencing of the defendant/abuser. If you do NOT wish to press criminal charges, you may still make a police report and seek an Order of Protection in a civil court. A private attorney, law firm or legal assistance agency can represent you. You may choose to represent yourself; this is called “pro se.” There is no arrest or sentencing with non-criminal cases.
Where can I get an Order of Protection?
There are several options:
- Criminal Court: if the person who has been hurt (the petitioner) signs a criminal complaint against the person who hurt him or her (the respondent). The State’s Attorney’s Office then prosecutes the respondent and helps the petitioner get an Order of Protection. The petitioner can only keep the Order if she, or he, follows through with the criminal case.
Civil Court: If the petitioner chooses NOT to press charges the Order of Protection can be granted by a judge in an independent action. In Civil Court, the petitioner can have his or her own attorney or can represent him or herself; this is called pro se.
- Child Support Court, Divorce Court, Juvenile Court, and Probate Court: A petitioner can also request an Order of Protection in other courts where they are parties to a pending action against the respondent.
The Order of Protection is the same, no matter which court grants it.