Domestic Violence Resources

Domestic violence is a crime. No one should ever be hurt by someone they love.  In order to become a survivor of domestic violence you need to get help from the court system, police, and community resources available to you. I encourage every victim of domestic violence to call the police.

The Clerk's Office wrote this guide for you. It answers many of the questions people have asked about domestic violence. This guide also tells you how you can get an Order of Protection and lists community services and courthouses near you.

If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to call my office at (312) 325-9500.

We are here to help you.

What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence is any physical, emotional, or sexual abuse of a household or family member by another.

Who can be protected?
The IDVA (Illinois Domestic Violence Act) defines household or family members who can be protected as follows:  spouses, former spouses, parents, children, stepchildren and other persons related by blood or by present or prior marriage, persons who share or formerly shared a common dwelling, persons who have or allegedly have a child in common, persons who share or allegedly share a blood relationship through a child, persons who have or have had a dating or engagement relationship, persons with disabilities and their personal assistants, caregivers and high-risk adult with disabilities. 50 ILCS 60/201 and 750 ILCS 60/103(6)(8).

What is an Order of Protection?
An Order of Protection is a court order signed by a judge. It is designed to protect a petitioner (the person who has been hurt) from the respondent (the person who hurt the petitioner.)

How can I file an Order Protection?
If you wish to file criminal charges, the Cook County State's Attorney will represent you. You may start the process with your local police, the State's Attorney, at your local court criminal division or with an appropriate advocate group or shelter.

Criminal charges may result in the arrest, conviction and sentencing of the defendant/abuser. If you do NOT wish to press criminal charges, you may still make a police report and seek an Order of Protection in a civil court. A private attorney, law firm or legal assistance agency can represent you. You may choose to represent yourself; this is called "pro se." There is no arrest or sentencing with non-criminal cases.

Where can I get an Order of Protection?

There are several options:

  • Criminal Court: if the person who has been hurt (the petitioner) signs a criminal complaint against the person who hurt him or her (the respondent). The State's Attorney's Office then prosecutes the respondent and helps the petitioner get an Order of Protection. The petitioner can only keep the Order if she, or he, follows through with the criminal case.
  • Civil Court:  If the petitioner chooses NOT to press charges the Order of Protection can be granted by a judge in an independent action.  In Civil Court, the petitioner can have his or her own attorney or can represent him or herself; this is called pro se. 
  • Child Support Court, Divorce Court, Juvenile Court and Probate Court:  A petitioner can also request an Order of Protection in other courts where they are parties to a pending action against the respondent.

The Order of Protection is the same, no matter which court grants it.

How do I determine which courthouse to file for an Order Protection?  
If you are involved in a pending case, you may be able to file in that proceeding.  If your complaint arose out of criminal conduct, you may wish to file in criminal court. The State's Attorney can give you advice in this regard.  In any event, you can direct questions to our Domestic Violence Court at (312) 325-9500.

How much does the Order of Protection cost?
The Order of Protection is free. There are no fees for filing the Order. The Sheriff's Office serves the Order on the respondent without charge.

How long does an Order of Protection last?
Your attorney or court advocate can best answer this question for you.  There are three types of Orders of Protection.  Each type may be granted for a specific length of time.

What is the Illinois Stalking Law?  
As of July 1992, the offense of stalking became a crime in the State of Illinois.  If you believe you are a stalking victim, contact your local police.

How does the respondent learn about the Order of Protection?
Once a judge grants the Order, it is filed in the Clerk's Office. A copy is sent to the Sheriff's Office and a Sheriff's deputy can then serve a copy of the Order to the respondent (the person who hurt the petitioner).

Can a minor get an Order of Protection?
Anyone who is a protected party under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act is eligible for an Order of Protection. Minors, under the age of 18, (and some people with disabilities) need an adult to ask for the Order on behalf of the petitioner.

What are remedies?
Remedies are actions the respondent must do or stop doing to the petitioner. For instance, the Order could make the respondent stay out of the shared home for a period of time; or stop harassing or abusing the petitioner; or pay costs if the petitioner had to run away to a safe place. There are 18 different remedies. The Order of Protection forms list each of them.

Do I need a lawyer to get an Order of Protection?
An Assistant State's Attorney is your attorney when you go to Criminal Court. In Civil Court, it is always a good idea to have an attorney in court with you. You may qualify for free legal assistance, depending on how much money you earn. If you need to hire an attorney, call the Chicago or Suburban Bar Associations for a referral. If you do not qualify for free legal assistance, and you cannot afford an attorney, you can act as your own attorney. You must bring the respondent's date of birth, social security number and address with you to complete the forms. The Clerk's Office in each court has the forms you need.

District 1 Courthouse Locations

Domestic Violence Court for Chicago
555 West Harrison
Chicago, IL 60607-4313
(312) 325-9500

Both criminal and civil domestic violence cases are heard in this courthouse.

If the petitioner presses charges against the respondent, the State’s attorney’s office assists the person in getting an order of protection. (312) 325-9220 

If the petitioner does not press charges against the respondent, any attorney or a pro se petitioner can request an order of protection. (Pro se petitioners are individuals who act as their own attorneys.) 

Criminal Courts Building

For felony and stalking cases:

Criminal Courts Building
2600 South California, Room 526
Chicago, IL 60608
(773) 869-3140/TDD (773) 869-7711

If parties are divorced or involved in domestic relations proceeding:

Domestic Relations Divisions,
Richard J. Daley Center, Room 802
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 603-6352

If parties involved have a pending estate or guardianship case:

Probate Division
Richard J. Daley Center, Room 1202
50 West Washington
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 603-6441/TDD (312) 603-6888

If there is a pending case to establish guardian/parent-child relationship:

Child Support Division
50 W. Washington, LL-01
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 345-4036 or (312) 345-4045

If there is a delinquency petition or a criminal prosecution of a juvenile:

Juvenile Justice and Child Protection Divisions
Juvenile Court Building
1100 South Hamilton
Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 433-6872

Suburban Courthouse Locations

District 2
5600 Old Orchard Road
Skokie, IL  60077
(847) 470-7250

District 3
2121 Euclid Avenue
Rolling Meadows, IL  60008 
(847) 818-3000

District 4 
1500 Maybrook Drive
Maywood, IL  60153
(708) 865-6040

District 5 
10220 South 76th Avenue
Bridgeview, IL  60425
(708) 974-6500   

District 6 
16501 South Kedzie Avenue
Markham, IL  60426
(708) 232-4551

Domestic Violence Victim Services

Domestic Violence Courthouse for Chicago
555 West Harrison Street
Chicago, IL 60607-4313
(312) 325-9500 

Ascend Justice - Domestic Violence Legal Clinic
Formerly known as Pro Bono Advocates
(312) 325-9155
Languages: English, Spanish

Legal Aid Chicago
(312) 341-1070 
ii. Languages: English, Spanish. Free interpreters for all other languages

Family Rescue
24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (312) 325-9300, (800) 360-6619 (Hablamos Español)
TDD (773) 375-8774

Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women's Network
24-Hour Emergency Domestic Violence Hotline: (877) 863-6338
TDD (877) 863-6339
Language: English, Spanish (+153 languages)
Office: (312) 527-0730

Metropolitan Family Services
(312) 986-4000
Languages: English, Spanish, Arabic
Locations: Multiple throughout Chicago

Life Span
(312) 408-1210
Languages: English

Greenhouse Shelter - Connections for Abused Women and their Children (CAWC)
24-Hour Hotline: (773) 278-4566, (773) 489-9081
Language: English, Spanish, French, Russian, Polish, Ukranian

CPD, Domestic Violence Advocacy Project
(312) 742-5290
Languages: English

Mujeres Latinas en Acción
(312) 738-5358
TDD (312) 226-3350
Languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese

Neopolitan Lighthouse
24-Hour Crisis Line: (773) 722-0005
Languages: English

Apna Ghar
24-Hour Emergency Hotline: (800) 717-0757
Languages: Hindi, Urdu, Swalhili, French, Spanish, Persian, Bangla, English

Between Friends
24-Hour Hotline (800) 603-4357
TDD (773) 274-6508
Languages: English

Center on Halsted
LGBTQ Violence Resource Line: (773) 871-2273 (Mon - Fri business hours)
Languages: English, Spanish

House of the Good Shepherd
(773) 935-3434
Languages: English, Spanish

Korean American Women In Need (KAN-WIN)
24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (773) 583-0880
Languages: English, Korean

24-Hour Crisis Line: (773) 583-4673
Languages: English, Hebrew, Russian

Heartland Alliance - Violence Recovery Services
(773) 847-4417
Languages: English, Spanish

Crisis Center for South Suburbia
24-Hour Domestic Violence Hotline: (708) 429-7233
TDD (708) 429-7284
Languages: English

Anew: Building Beyond Violence and Abuse
24-Hour Hotline: (877) 335-3028
Languages: English, Spanish

Pillars - Constance Morris House
24-Hour Domestic Violence Hotline: (708) 485-5254
Languages: English, Spanish

Sarah's Inn
24-Hour Crisis Line: (708) 386-4225
Languages: English, Spanish

YWCA Evanston/Northshore
24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877) 718-1868
Languages: English, Spanish

The Illinois Domestic Violence Act recognizes domestic violence as a serious crime. It creates legal remedies which may be ordered by the court. One of the most useful of these is commonly referred to as an ORDER OF PROTECTION.

We hope the information presented here will help your understanding of the circuit court system as it relates Domestic Violence and guide you to the resources within the community that may be available to you.

If you need help with a situation involving domestic violence and do not know where to turn, there are many Legal Assistance, Court Advocacy, and Social Service Organizations that provide a variety of services to victims of domestic violence.