Sadly, domestic violence and abuse are not uncommon in Illinois. Research shows that over 40 percent of women and over 25 percent of men in Illinois have suffered abuse from a spouse or romantic partner. No one should ever have to tolerate this type of mistreatment. Fortunately, there are legal protections available in Illinois that can help you escape an abusive relationship.
If you are like many people, you may be unsure of whether the mistreatment you have endured counts as abuse. You may wonder, “Is psychological manipulation considered abuse?” or “What if I do not have physical marks from the abuse?” Read on to learn what is considered abuse according to Illinois law and what you should do if you have been abused by an intimate partner.
Abuse is Not Always Physical
When you picture an abused husband, wife, boyfriend, or girlfriend, you may picture someone with a black eye or other physical injuries. While physical abuse like punching, slapping, pushing, and kicking certainly is abuse, this is not the only type of abuse a person can endure.
The social media hashtag #MaybeHeDoesHitYou shed light on the alarming frequency of emotional abuse, gaslighting, blackmail, and psychological manipulation some people suffer inside of intimate relationships. Illinois law reflects the reality that abuse does not always involve physical violence.
The Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986
In Illinois, someone who has been abused may petition the court for an Emergency Order of Protection. “Abuse” is broadly defined. According to the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986, abuse can include any of the following:
Physical abuse – Physically injuring the other person, using physical force to restrain the other person, or reckless conduct that creates a risk of harm may all be examples of physical abuse.
Harassment – Harassment is defined as intentional actions that would cause a reasonable person emotional distress. Repeatedly calling someone, following them, or loitering outside of a person’s home or workplace may be considered harassment.
Intimidation of a dependent – When someone has a physical or mental disability, they are granted additional rights under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act. Physical abuse against a dependent adult is typically considered domestic violence even if the person is not a family or household member.
Interference with personal liberty – Threatening a person with physical abuse or using physical violence to limit a person’s independence is abuse. Stopping the person from visiting friends or family or forbidding them from leaving the house may be examples of interference with personal liberty.
Willful deprivation – Refusing a protected party food, water, shelter, medical care, or access to assistive devices is considered abuse. For example, not letting a disabled person use his or her wheelchair is abuse.
Contact a Markham Order of Protection Lawyer
If you have been abused, an Order of Protection can provide the legal protection you need to leave the abusive situation. For help seeking an order of protection or for other family law needs, turn to the skilled Joliet family law attorneys at [[title]]. Call [[phone]] for a confidential consultation.