You Have Rights!
If you are the victim of domestic violence, you have RIGHTS both before and after the perpetrator is charged, if applicable. Some of these rights include:
- To be protected from further abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
- To seek criminal charges against the abuser (NOTE: Jail is not the only outcome if the abuser is found guilty.) The offender may be subject to a period of conditional discharge or probation. Other consequences may include court ordered domestic violence counseling, anger management classes and drug and alcohol compliance.
- To confer with a domestic abuse advocate with confidential or privileged communication.
Law enforcement officers are to use all reasonable means to prevent further abuse, including:
- Arranging for the victim’s transportation to a medical facility or a safe shelter and/or accompanying the victim back to the residence to retrieve belongings.
- Arresting the abuser where appropriate and completing a police report on all bona fide incidents.
- Advising the victim of his/her rights and the importance of seeking medical attention and preserving evidence.
- Seizing weapons that were used to commit the abuse.
- If applicable due to the extreme nature of the crime, after the close of court business hours, arranging for the victim’s transportation to an available circuit judge so the victim may file a petition for an Emergency Order of Protection.
Crime Victim Bill of Rights
The Illinois Constitution guarantees certain rights for crime victims. Generally, victims have rights to be treated with fairness and respect for their dignity and privacy throughout the criminal justice process and to obtain certain information from the criminal justice system. The Rights of Crime Victims and Witnesses Act (725 ILCS 120), commonly referred to as the Illinois Bill of Rights for Victims and Witnesses of Violent Crime, or Victims Bill of Rights, implements, preserves and protects those rights guaranteed by the constitution.
Crime Victim’s Compensation Act
The Crime Victims Compensation Act was established by the Illinois General Assembly in 1973 with the primary goal of helping to reduce the financial burden imposed on victims of violent crime and their families. The Illinois Crime Victims Compensation Program offers reimbursement up to $45,000 for expenses incurred by eligible victims as a result of a violent crime.
The Crime Victims Compensation Act states that the Office of the Attorney General has the statutory duty to process all claims by investigating each claim to determine the claimant’s eligibility. The Attorney General’s office then makes a preliminary recommendation to award or deny compensation. Ultimately, the Court of Claims makes the final decision.
If you or someone you love is having difficulty coping with the long-term effects of a violent crime, please call the toll-free Crime Victims Assistance Line for more information about compensation and other statewide victim services: 1-800-228-3368 and visit the Attorney General's website for additional information and applications.