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Do I Qualify For an Order of Protection?

As her eyes looked to the floor she said in tears, " I don’t know if I am in the right place. I have no bruises; he does not hurt me." But as she talked, her partner daily called her bitch, whore, and stupid, threatening she would never see her children again if she left. She was experiencing daily verbal and emotional abuse which lowered her self-worth, leaving her paralyzed in fear of doing anything until someone referred her to Dove. After she told her story, she looked at me with tears streaming down her face saying "Do I qualify for an order of protection even though he does not hit me?"



Sadly, we hear and see this scenario often. When victims do reach out for help, they are not sure if they qualify for services or an order of protection because they are not being hit. The answer is yes, a victim of domestic violence does qualify for an order of protection for emotional abuse even though there is no physical abuse. There also must be relationships established through the IL Domestic Violence Act to also qualify for an order of protection.



To determine a domestic violence relationship through the IDVA means they must be in a dating relationship, sharing/shared common dwelling, child in common, family member, spouse or former spouse, partner or former partner, child, related by blood or marriage, sibling, or one in a caretaker role. There are many other forms of abuse that victims of domestic violence, friends, family members, and people within the community do not identify as abuse. I have listed below forms of abuse those victims of domestic violence experience daily, weekly, monthly or periodically. No matter how frequent or less frequently abuse occurs, it is never okay or acceptable for a person to abuse their partner, spouse, or another family member.



Physical Abuse is pushing, shoving, hitting, slapping, strangling, pulling hair, punching, kicking, grabbing, twisting arms, tripping, biting, beating, throwing him/her down, using a weapon against him/her.



Spiritual Abuse is when they are not allowing her/him to have or maintain their own spiritual belief system, forbidding her/him to attend church or religious gatherings, ridiculing their beliefs and keeping them away from their source of spiritual strength.



Emotional Abuse consists of verbal attacks, put downs, name calling, humiliating comments, playing mind games by telling them they are going crazy.



Economic Abuse is putting a person on an allowance, not letting a person have access to family income and or stopping a person from getting or keeping a job.



Isolation is controlling what the other person does, who they see and talk to or where they go. Often times they are isolated from family and not allowed to have friends. Without emotional support from family and friends, the abused person has no emotional support which keeps them in the abusive relationship.



Sexual Abuse is pressuring, threatening, or forcing your partner into unwanted sexual intercourse or unwanted sexual acts and or physically attacking the sexual parts of their body. Each individual have ownership over their own body and this means even when you are married.



Using Children against the other person, threatening to take the children away, and using visitation as a way to harass the other parent.



Using Male or Female Privilege is treating a man/woman like a servant and making all the big decisions and acting like the King/Queen of the "castle".



Threats in saying they will do something to hurt the other person or to hurt themselves. Threats become more severe and dangerous when she/he decides to leave.



Intimidation occurs when she/he is afraid of their partner when they use looks, actions, gestures etc. They smash things of sentimental value, destroying property, abusing pets, displaying weapons.



All of the above forms of abuse, rather it is one or a combination of several forms of abuse, qualifies one for services to obtain an order of protection, shelter, domestic violence support group, and short term domestic violence counseling.



An order of protection is a legal tool to use to keep the batterer (the person doing the battering) 500 feet away no matter where they are at. One may also request possession of the residence and many other remedies that are available depending on their circumstances. The order of protection is to be used in addition to their own personal safety plan.



A Dove Legal Advocate can assist those who need help in completing the order of protection and explain the remedies of the order of protection. Legal Advocates will also accompany victims to court hearings to provide emotional support and explain what will take place at each hearing.

If you are a family member, friend, employer, or community member and know someone who may be in an abusive relationship please call Dove for information or refer the person to the Dove Domestic Violence Program.



Anyone who is in an abusive relationship, or thinks you might be and would like more information on abuse, in addition to more information about an order of protection, please contact our 24-hour hotline at Dove. The first step in asking for help is the hardest but also is the first step of taking back control of your life.


Domestic Violence is about Power and Control; the batterer’s need to have power and control over the other person is abuse. YOU DO NOT DESERVE TO BE ABUSED!

Vivian Reed
Legal Advocate Supervisor

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