Domestic Violence

  • hastings 052617TINLEY PARK- During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, State Senator Michael E. Hastings reminds residents that domestic violence is a daily issue that affects many Illinoisans. 

    “As a state, it is our duty to condemn domestic violence in any form and continue our charge to support a safe living and work environment for all Illinois residents,” Hastings said. “Confronting an attacker is hard process for survivors of domestic violence. When someone is ready to take this step of bravery there are is a new measure in place to help provide them with justice.”  

    Hastings championed a measure to help protect victims of domestic violence in Illinois during the legislative session.

    The new law will improve the processing and review of sexual assault evidence by requiring the Illinois State Police to implement a new statewide sexual assault evidence kit tracking procedure. It also   creates the Sexual Assault Evidence and Reporting Commission to research and develop best practices to establish a statewide plan to track and report sexual assault evidence.

    “The justice system was created to give our citizens the opportunity to confront their abusers and for the innocent to be absolved of faulty accusations,” Hastings said. “This new law will ensure survivors of sexual assault are equipped with the right evidence to receive their fair day in court.”

    Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault reports that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men will experience some form of sexual assault in their lifetime. Illinois became the first state in the nation to a enact rape kit reform law in 2010. Hastings believes this new law is the next step in ensuring transparency and ending the backlog of untested evidence.

    “Transparency is key to ensure rape kits are tested responsibly and in a timely manner,” Hastings said. “Our hope is this new process will implement a system that stresses accuracy and accountably to give survivors of sexual assault some peace of mind.”

    House Bill 528 passed the Senate and House with bipartisan support. The new law is now in effect.

  • Sen. Linda HolmesSPRINGFIELD – An Aurora domestic violence shelter that has suffered through layoffs and service cuts amid the state’s financial crisis, could finally see stable state funding that could restore vital services to abused women under a plan the Illinois Senate recently approved.

    “Mutual Ground and those that they serve have already paid a steep price for inaction and gridlock in Springfield,” said State Sen. Linda Holmes, an Aurora Democrat. “The plan that I voted for would fully fund Mutual Ground, giving them the certainty that they need to serve some of the most vulnerable people in our community.”

  • bennett dv champaignSPRINGFIELD – Courage Connection, the Champaign-based domestic violence shelter devastated by the state’s budget impasse, would be funded under the budget plan passed by the Illinois Senate this week.

    Originally opened in 1971, the shelter is considered to be the first domestic violence shelter in the nation. Since then, the shelter has helped tens of thousands of people find a safe place to stay for the night.

    Courage Connection includes four facilities that provide a safe haven for victims of domestic violence, allowing them to focus on rebuilding their life.

  • stadelman 031517SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) secured passage of legislation today allowing domestic violence victims to continue using their cell phone plans after separating from their abusers.

    “One of the reasons people stay in abusive relationships is financial dependence,” Stadelman said. “This legislation removes the roadblock of having to find the money to set up a new phone plan. Anything we can do to make it easier to leave is a positive step.”

    The measure requires wireless providers to transfer the right to continue to use phone numbers on an account the victim shares with the abuser. Similar legislation was recently enacted in California, Missouri, Indiana and Wisconsin.

    “As we know, cell phones have become nearly essential in modern life,” Stadelman said. “This legislation allows men and women leaving abusive situations to keep their photos, addresses, contacts and emails, and to continue using their phone to seek housing and employment.”

    The measure amends current law to allow victims to petition the court for the right to continue use of a phone number as part of a petition for an order of protection.

    SB 57 passed unanimously in the Senate and will move to the House for consideration.

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  • dvpanel 040417 2SPRINGFIELD – For many abused women, domestic violence shelters are the last refuge from which they can begin to rebuild their lives. These very shelters, however, are now on the verge of closing due to the state’s historic budget impasse.

    One such shelter is the Urbana-based provider Courage Connection. The facility is the only domestic violence shelter in Champaign-Urbana. In December, the provider learned that the $600 million in the state’s stopgap budget did not include its funding.

  • Sen. Iris Y MartinezCHICAGO — In response to a report that undocumented immigrants who have been victims of domestic violence aren’t showing up to court because they fear deportation, Senate Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) issued the following statement:

    “It breaks my heart to see women victimized twice, once when they suffered domestic violence and then when they refuse to report their perpetrators for fear of being deported thanks to President Trump’s immigration policies.

  • safeplaceIt has been nearly two years since Illinois had a full budget. As a result, many human service providers have been forced to cut back on services and lay off staff. One organization that has been impacted is A Safe Place, a domestic violence support center in Zion that serves more than 15,000 individuals each year. 

    Since it was founded in 1980, A Safe Place has grown into a $2.2 million agency with seven offices across Lake County. Services include emergency shelter, a 24-hour crisis line, legal advocacy, permanent housing, case management, individual and group therapy, mentoring programs, supervised family visitation and custody exchanges, and more.

  • Peoria dv 032117PEORIA – A Peoria social service provider that helps victims of domestic abuse is one of the many groups affected by a cut of $9 million in state funding.

    The Center for Prevention of Abuse stands to lose $200,000 due to the cut. The organization was already owed over $400,000 by the state for previous programs the state never reimbursed them for.

  • cunningham dom viol 081716CHICAGO—Hair dressers and nail technicians throughout Illinois will now be trained to detect signs of domestic violence or sexual assault and help the victims thanks to legislation sponsored by Senator Bill Cunningham that was signed into law on Friday.

    "My wife used to work as a hair dresser and she frequently heard stories from her clients who were victims of domestic violence," Cunningham said. "Unfortunately, she didn't have the knowledge or resources needed to help them. This new law will ensure that hair dressers will be trained to assist their clients who reach out to them for help."

    House Bill 4264 would require that cosmetologists, estheticians, nail technicians and hair braiders take a one-hour continuing education class about domestic violence and sexual assault awareness. The class would also provide them with resources to give to their clients.

    “I was proud to stand with activists like Chicago Says No More to say enough is enough,” Cunningham said. “Illinois took a proactive step in ensuring that domestic violence and sexual assault is not tolerated in this state.”

    Senator Cunningham represents portions of Worth, Orland and Palos Townships in the southwest suburbs and the neighborhoods of Mt. Greenwood, Beverly, Morgan Park and Auburn-Gresham in Chicago. 

  • bush 0816SPRINGFIELD — To equip police investigators with the most up-to-date knowledge and skills to respond to domestic violence as soon as they answer a call, the governor signed a proposal sponsored by State Sen. Melinda Bush that would provide additional training for law enforcement officers.

    “Domestic violence is often minimized and under reported, and we need to fight preconceived notions of what an abuse situation looks like,” said Bush, D-Grayslake. “More training will assure our officers are better equipped to identify domestic violence situations.”

  • cunninghamSPRINGFIELD—Local law enforcement will work to keep guns out of the hands of people who have orders of protection against them thanks to a new Illinois law.

    House Bill 6331, sponsored by Senator Bill Cunningham, will require the state police to notify local police agencies to assist in seizing a Firearm Owners Identification Card when that person’s card has been revoked by a judge in an order of protection case. 

    “If law enforcement is going to successfully protect victims of domestic violence, all police agencies must have the information they need to enforce court orders," Cunningham said. "As the law stands today, the state police must shoulder the entire burden on their own. That's not fair to the state police or to the victims of domestic violence."

    Senator Cunningham represents portions of Worth, Orland and Palos Townships in the southwest suburbs and the neighborhoods of Mt. Greenwood, Beverly, Morgan Park and Auburn-Gresham in Chicago. 

  • morrison 052916SPRINGFIELD – A plan that would make it easier for domestic violence victims to file temporary orders of protection passed the Senate this afternoon.

    “Survivors of domestic violence or abuse often have a very difficult time coming forward and reporting their abuse,” State Senator Julie Morrison (D – Deerfield) said. “In instances where there is an immediate threat to the safety of an individual, filing a temporary order of protection is vitally important.”

  • “Abusers need to know they can’t hide from the law.”

    Bush pushes for more police training on domestic violenceSPRINGFIELD — To ensure more police officers are equipped with the knowledge and skills to respond to domestic violence as soon as they answer a call, State Sen. Melinda Bush advanced a proposal today that would provide for additional training for law enforcement.

    “One of the worst parts of domestic violence is how difficult it is to investigate and prosecute when so many people involved may have totally inaccurate, preconceived notions of what an abuse situation looks like,” said Bush, D-Grayslake. “By requiring more training, we’re giving law enforcement more ability to fight this crime.”

    Currently, the law recommends but does not require police departments to coordinate domestic violence response training with service organizations and develop appropriate arrest procedures. The new training is aimed at the prevention of further victimization, focusing on looking beyond the physical evidence of domestic violence and giving officers an understanding of the deeper psychological aspects of abusive relationships.

    “Abusers need to know that our officers know what to look for,” Bush said. “They need to know they can’t hide from the law.”

    The legislation is HB 5538. Having passed the Illinois House 113-0, it is sponsored by Sen. Bush in the Senate. It passed the Senate Criminal Law Committee Wednesday and proceeds to the full Senate for consideration.

  • Stadelman proposal to assist domestic violence victims becomes lawSPRINGFIELD – Legislation sponsored by State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) that will help victims escape abusive situations by giving them up to 60 days to pay initial deposits on gas, electric and water bills is one of the new laws that will take effect in a few days on January 1, 2016.

    Under the law, deposits must still be paid but victims have more time to get their finances in order so they can move out. Many domestic violence victims are forced to stay in dangerous environments because they don’t have the resources to leave.

    “One of the largest issues many domestic violence victims face is trying to find the financial resources to leave their abusers,” Stadelman said. This new law gives victims additional time to get their affairs in order to let them move to a safe place faster than ever before.

    The legislation, Senate Bill 1645, passed both houses and was signed by the governor earlier this year.

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  • hutchinson loopholesSPRINGFIELD – Victims of domestic violence and individuals with disabilities will not have to worry about losing their homes if they contact authorities for help under a new law signed today by the governor.  

    “The last thing a survivor of a traumatic assault or someone struggling with a disability needs to worry about is being evicted simply for calling the police for help,” sponsor State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) said.  

    Renters who contact authorities for help risk eviction in the more than 100 home-rule cities and villages that have implemented some form of crime-free ordinance. These ordinances are meant to give more control to municipalities in addressing public safety concerns. Many of them have specifically listed triggers that could lead to an eviction, including numerous calls to law enforcement.

    While the intent of crime-free ordinances is to deal with illegal activity, victims of criminal activity can be affected by the rules, especially in the case of domestic violence. Victims of domestic abuse aren’t always able to leave their homes immediately and are sometimes afraid to press charges, making it more likely they will have to contact the police more than once.  

    Individuals with disabilities are also endangered by these ordinances, as someone struggling with a disability might need assistance from authorities more often than someone without a disability.

    “We should not be penalizing renters with eviction simply for making legitimate calls for help,” Hutchinson said. “This new law strikes a balance between the safety needs of victims and the responsibility of municipalities to address public safety in their communities.”

    Senate Bill 1547 was signed today by the governor and becomes law in 90 days.

  • Stadelman proposal to assist domestic violence victims signed into lawWinnebago County's only domestic violence shelter today praised legislation passed by State Senator Steve Stadelman that helps victims escape abusive situations by giving them up to 60 days to pay initial deposits on gas, electric and water bills.

    Under the law, deposits must still be paid but victims have more time to get their finances in order so they can move out. Many domestic violence victims are forced to stay in dangerous environments because they don’t have the resources to leave.

    "This legislation is very beneficial for victims of domestic violence who are fleeing to safety," said Karen Gill, vice president of operations for Remedies Renewing Lives. "One of the biggest barriers for victims is setting all the pieces in motion, such as coming up with the money for utility deposits, to establish an independent residence."