A person who feels their safety is in jeopardy may file a restraining order against an abusive or threatening family member or person living in the household.
What can an order of protection do?
Illinois courts can issue an order of protection to restrict the alleged abuser’s actions. Orders of protection are commonly used to:
- Prevent the alleged abuser from contacting the alleged victim
- Prohibit the alleged abuser from threatening, intimidating, or physically abusing the alleged victim
- Prevent the alleged abuser from showing up at the alleged victim’s place of work or other locations frequented by the alleged victim
- Award temporary custody of children to the alleged victim
The order may require the alleged abuser to take certain actions. The alleged abuser may be required to:
- Turn over any weapons to law enforcement
- Attend counseling
- Appear in court
- Return personal property to the alleged victim
- Bring child to court
Obtaining an Order of Protection
An emergency order of protection will last about 14 to 21 days and does not require the respondent, or the person it is getting filed against to know about the hearing. Once the judge approves it, the emergency order will go in to effect immediately.
In order to obtain a plenary order of protection, you and your attorney can file a petition for order of protection, typically found on your county court’s website. This petition will need to include allegations of abuse and/or threats and a statement that the alleged abuser is a family member or household member. You will also need to sign a sworn statement or affidavit swearing that the facts included in the petition or true. There will also be a summons that must be served with the petition upon the respondent, notifying them of the date and time of the hearing. After a hearing, if the order is granted, it can last up to 2 years.
Violations of Orders of Protection
If you violate an order of protection, you could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor resulting in up to 364 days in jail and a $25. Repeated violations could lead to more serious consequences.
An attorney specializing in domestic violence can help you understand the purpose of an order of protection and represent you at your hearing.