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What to Do When You Are a Victim of Family Violence

Posted on in Divorce

Many people believe that if they are a victim of violence that is committed by a family member, they have no legal recourse. However, this is not true. While taking legal action against a family member can be emotionally trying, it may be the best thing you can do to protect yourself and other within your home. A family law attorney can help you to understand what to do when you are a victim of domestic violence, including filing an order of protection.

What Constitutes Family Violence?

Family violence, officially referred to as domestic violence under Illinois code, refers to any acts of: hitting, choking, kicking, threatening, harassing, or otherwise interfering with the personal liberties of a family or household member, according to the Illinois Attorney General. This can include family members who are blood relatives, married couples, children, persons who have child in common, or others who share a home or living area.

What Legal Protections Can I Seek?

If you believe that you are in imminent danger, you should call the police and report the family violence immediately. Otherwise, you should attempt to remove yourself from the home and seek safely somewhere else, perhaps at a family member’s residence, at a friend’s house, or in a shelter for domestic violence victims.

Once you are in a safe location, you should consider seeking an order of protection. An order of protection, per Illinois Compiled Statutes section 101, is an emergency order that is filed by a victim of family violence. An order of protection orders the abusive party to not:

  • Harass, stalk, intimidate, abuse, or follow you;
  • Come near your place of residence or place of work;
  • Take or damage your property;
  • Take your child out of state; or
  • Possess any firearms.

An order of protection can also prevent the abusive party from taking certain actions against you until further legal action can be taken – i.e. he or she may be prevented from residing in your home while further actions are pending (such as a divorce action). An order of protection can protect you as well as anyone else in your home for whom protection is necessary.

How Can a Family Law Attorney Help Me?

Being a victim of family violence can be terrifying. If you have children, are worried about your property, or are financially dependent upon your abuser, the situation can be even more overwhelming. When you reach out to a family law attorney, you will have an advocate on your side who will work hard to make sure that you are protected from harm, both physically and legally.

Seek Legal Counsel Today

The experienced Illinois family law attorneys at Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. can help you file your petition for an order of protection, and can guide you through everything that comes next, too. From filing for divorce to gaining custody of your children, we will be by your side every step of the way. To schedule your free case consultation, call us today at 630-961-0060.

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