Illinois sees rising risks to domestic violence victims as funding for services absent


October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Nearly 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have suffered serious physical violence at the hands of a spouse or partner. The importance of preventing domestic violence (also known as intimate partner violence), protecting its survivors, and honoring those whose lives were taken by violence are the focal points for this annual awareness campaign.

Survivors, primarily women and children, need a range of services to escape their situations, pursue justice, get medical care and counseling to restart their lives in health and safety. Those survivors in Illinois are at a greater risk right now as funding for services to protect these families are being held hostage by the state’s budget impasse.

Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago 7th) spoke October 1 at a rally in support of women and children twice victimized – first at the hands of domestic abusers, and then through the lack of funding for services they desperately need to stay safe and rebuild their lives.

Steans DVAMonth“The budget impasse isn’t hurting the wealthy; it’s hurting the state’s most vulnerable, including those struggling to escape the nightmare of domestic violence,” said Steans, who sponsored legislation passed by the Senate last month to fund assistance for victims of domestic violence in addition to other critical human services. “It is appalling that the current administration has labeled these services ‘non-essential.’ That decision affects 75,000 survivors of domestic violence statewide, leaving many without safe shelter, counseling, legal help and more.”

Dozens of pairs of donated children’s shoes were arranged on the pavement in front of the rally, representing the children forced into homelessness because their only other choice was a violent, abusive home. Following the event, advocates delivered a box of shoes to the governor’s office and also mailed a pair to each member of the General Assembly.

Recent laws enacted to protect survivors:

New law protects victims of domestic violence, people with disabilities, from eviction
Stadelman proposal to assist domestic violence victims signed into law
Steans’ federal funding budget passes with bipartisan support in Senate, keeps vital services afloat
Bush, Attorney General: Victims of rape shouldn’t pay fees

More information:

Domestic Violence Awareness Project

CDC Intimate Partner Violence Prevention