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What Counts as Abuse for an Illinois Order of Protection?

 Posted on August 16, 2021 in Family Law

Naperville family law attorneyDomestic violence affects the lives of millions of people every day in the United States, and Illinois residents are no exception. If you or a loved one has experienced domestic violence or abuse, you may have questions about protection orders. In Illinois, an Emergency Order of Protection is often issued on the same day that it was requested. It prohibits the subject of the order from contacting or coming near the petitioner and may also contain other provisions such as a provision requiring the subject to surrender his or her firearms. An order of protection also helps to create an official record of the abusive person’s behavior. However, many abuse victims fail to get this important and potentially life-saving protection because they do not know if what they experienced was technically abuse under the law.

Can I Get an Order of Protection If the Abuser Never Physically Harmed Me?

A few years ago, the social media hashtag #MaybeHeDoesntHitYou flooded Facebook and Twitter. Using the hashtag, many abuse victims shared stories of abusive relationships that did not involve typical abusive tactics like punching, slapping, or kicking. The campaign was a valuable reminder to many that abuse takes nearly countless forms and not every form is physical.

If you are being stalked, harassed, financially manipulated, gaslighted, or otherwise abused in a non-physical manner, you may worry that you do not meet the criteria for an order of protection. Fortunately, Illinois law reflects the fact that abuse can involve much more than physical violence.

Per Illinois law, abuse is defined as actions that fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • Harassment – Behavior that causes emotional distress such as repeatedly following the person, lurking outside the person’s home or workplace, or threatening the person with violence.

  • Interference with personal liberty – Actions that force a person to act in ways he or she does not want to act or restrict a person’s freedom. This could include confining a person to his or her home, not letting the person contact friends or family, and subjecting the person to constant surveillance.

  • Willful deprivation – Denying the person access to food, water, shelter, medical care, or other necessities.

  • Intimidation of a dependent – Forcing a dependent child, disabled person, or elderly person to witness or participate in physical abuse of another.

  • Physical abuse – Physical abuse has a wide definition and may include threatening someone with a weapon, physically using force to restrain the person, forcing sexual contact, and other conduct that creates an immediate risk of harm.

Contact a DuPage County Family Law Attorney

An order of protection is a court order that prohibits an abusive person from further abusing you and can also serve as an important record in legal matters related to domestic violence, divorce, or child custody. For help requesting an order of protection, contact the Wheaton domestic violence lawyers at Goostree Law Group. Call 630-364-4046 for a free consultation.




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