Many victims of domestic violence in Illinois may not know what to do when physical abuse becomes an emergency except to dial 911 and hope that first responders will be able to help keep them safe. Family law can provide a temporary restraining order or permanent protective order, but not everyone in a dispute over legal issues will abide by them, meaning that police and paramedics may be needed. The attitudes of first responders may disappoint or even horrify those making emergency calls after a custody dispute or other family issues go south.
Illinois men and women can be victims of domestic violence, which is a form of abuse that occurs between spouses or others who are related to each other. Men have the same rights under the law as women do if they are victims of such actions. In addition to hitting or other acts of physical violence, domestic abuse can be inflicted verbally, sexually or psychologically.
Illinois residents may be interested to learn that statistics suggest that those experiencing domestic violence are less likely to make reports. Law enforcement officials and local experts suggest that this may be due to potentially maintaining the appearance of family happiness. It should be noted, however, that this does not necessarily equal a decrease in the rate of domestic violence.
Domestic violence can be a deeply dangerous threat to people in unhealthy relationships in Illinois on both a physical and an emotional level. Abuse in a relationship is a betrayal of trust as well as a form of physical, verbal, psychological or emotional violence that frequently escalates to a point of endangering a victim's health.
Emotions often run high during a divorce, and the first year of separation can be particularly difficult and dangerous for estranged spouses who have been the victims of domestic violence and abuse. This is the period when decisions are made about important matters like child custody and visitation, and the lingering effects of family violence can have a profound impact on how abused victims approach these issues according to research from the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Illinois.
Leaving an abusive relationship can be very difficult for many Illinois women. Pressure to stay with an abuser often arises from a person's lack of income, homelessness and no access to health care. Among immigrants, especially individuals without documentation to be in the country, barriers to action include fear of deportation, poor English language skills and little understanding of legal rights.
In many parts of Illinois, domestic violence remains a problem. Alton police, for example, have responded to more than 500 reports of domestic violence in 2017 alone. In Madison County, it is estimated that about 1,400 emergency orders of protection were filed, coming out to an average of five each and every day. To combat incidents of domestic violence, the Alton Police Chief and his wife started the annual Domestic Violence Awareness Walk.
According to the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence, there were 61 deaths related to domestic violence in the state in 2017. That is an increase from 49 such deaths in 2016. While the exact reason why the number went up is unclear, it may be related to the fact that the group didn't have a budget for two years. Other domestic violence agencies in the state were also forced to cut services or close entirely.