Domestic Violence

The Illinois Domestic Violence Act (IDVA) was originally enacted in 1982. In 1986, the Illinois Domestic Violence Act was completely rewritten and it expanded the scope and power of the order of protection. The IDVA is now liberally construed in order to support and to protect victims of domestic violence. The rewritten IDVA sets forth the responsibilities of law enforcement officers and makes it easier for them to provide immediate assistance to victims of domestic violence. The IDVA has also expanded the civil and criminal remedies available to victims of domestic violence.

Unfortunately, it is common for at least one person in a divorce or parentage case to behave poorly toward the other person. He or she may engage in an isolated act of violence or there may be a history of abuse. Whether you are the victim of abuse and pursuing an Order of Protection or you are being accused of abuse and need to defend against an Order of Protection, Susan will help you understand your legal options. Susan will listen to your concerns and provide aggressive legal representation.

Domestic violence occurs in intimate relationships where one person uses control and coercion over another person in an effort to control the other person. Typically, the abuser feels he or she is justified in using violence, threats, and intimidation. Domestic violence does not only mean physical abuse. An abuser may use many ways to control the victim including:

  • Isolating the victim from family, friends, coworkers, and others;
  • Using emotional abuse to lower the victim’s self-esteem;
  • Using coercion, threats, and intimidation to get what he or she wants;
  • Using economic abuse, such as preventing the victim from getting or keeping a job and controlling access to money or resources; or
  • Minimizing and justifying the use of violence and abusive tactics and blaming the victim for bringing on the abuse.

The IDVA also defines the following terms:

  • “Abuse” can be physical abuse, harassment, or intimidation of a dependent, or interference with personal liberty or willful deprivation.
  • “Physical Abuse” includes sexual abuse and is the knowing reckless use of physical force, confinement or restraint, repeated and unnecessary sleep deprivation, or reckless conduct which creates an immediate risk of physical harm.
  • “Harassment” includes knowing conduct that is not necessary to accomplish a purpose that is reasonable under the circumstances that would cause a reasonable person emotional distress, and that causes emotional distress to the victim. The ILDVA also provides illustrations of the types of conduct designed to cause emotional distress.
  • “Interference with Personal Liberty” means committing or threatening physical abuse, harassment, intimidation or willful deprivation so as to compel another to engage in conduct from which she or he has a right to abstain or to refrain from conduct in which she or he has a right to engage.
  • “Intimidation of a dependent” means subjecting a person who is dependent because of age, health or disability to participate in or witness physical force against another or physical confinement or restraint of another that constitutes physical abuse.
  • “Willful Deprivation” occurs when a person willfully denies another person who because of age, health or disability requires medication, medical care, shelter, accessible shelter or services, food, therapeutic device, or other physical assistance, and thereby exposes that person to the risk of physical, mental or emotional harm, except with regard to medical care or treatment when the dependent person has expressed an intent to forgo such medical care or treatment.

The persons protected under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act are:

(i) any person abused by a family or household member;
(ii) any high-risk adult with disabilities who is abused, neglected, or exploited by a family or household member;
(iii) any minor child or dependent adult in the care of such person; and
(iv) any person residing or employed at a private home or public shelter which is housing an abused family or household member.

Susan will help you obtain an Order of Protection in the event you, or your children, are under the threat of domestic violence. Susan’s first step when she is handling a domestic violence situation is to make sure that you and your children are safe. Her next step is to take the legal action necessary to make you sure that you stay safe.

When emotions become heated during a divorce or parentage case, it can trigger false claims of domestic violence to keep the children away from the other parent or to shift the favor of the Court in his or her direction. Susan is experienced in handling situations involving victims of abuse as well as victims of false allegations. In either event, Susan will strongly advocate for her client’s rights.