Data show domestic violence increases during times of financial stress and hardship, and the uncertainty of COVID-19 and people confined to unsafe environments may contribute to a higher likelihood of abuse. In light of these data points and other factors, Cook County State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx and the City of Chicago are reminding people that even during reduced court operations, emergency domestic violence and child endangerment proceedings will continue. While non-essential criminal court, juvenile court, and child protection proceedings are suspended for 30 days, bond, preliminary, and arraignment hearings will not be interrupted in the interest of public safety.
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office (CCSAO) wants survivors to have the information they need should they find themselves in an unsafe situation. First and foremost, call your local law enforcement office if your immediate safety is threatened and file a report. Any person can seek an Order of Protection - with or without a police report - if they have experienced physical, sexual or verbal abuse and/or have reason to fear for their safety from the accused abuser. Due to limited staffing during this time, Orders of Protection will not be issued over the weekend; anyone who feels their safety is threatened should call the Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline for assistance.
“Staying safe during this health crisis includes the ability to create distance from an abuser,” said Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. “While coordinating with our criminal justice partners on the COVID-19 plan to protect everyone’s health, safety, and rights, it was imperative that services for survivors of domestic violence and child abuse remained open. I encourage anyone in need or fear to call our Victim Witness Unit for assistance and support. You’re not alone.”
“Domestic violence has no place in our society, and it is critical that survivors know they are not alone,” said Chicago Department of Family and Support Services Commissioner Lisa Morrison Butler. “We recognize the challenges survivors face and believe when more opportunities are available for them to speak up, the closer we will be to eradicating domestic violence and preventing anyone from experiencing tragedy at the hands of an abuser.”
The CCSAO Victim Witness Unit is available to answer questions and provide support by calling 773-674-7200.
The Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24/7 to provide crisis intervention, information, and referrals for survivors of domestic violence. Call or text 877-863-6338 for confidential help and information. Additional information is available at The Network Advocating Against Domestic Violence and The National Domestic Violence Hotline.
Who can Obtain an Order of Protection
- Any household or family member abused by other household or family member including:
- Spouse or ex-spouse
- Current or former roommate
- Persons currently or formerly in a dating relationship
- Persons related by blood or marriage
- Victims of sexual assault or stalking can get a Civil No Contact Order or Stalking No Contact Order
How to File a Protective Order
- Pick up paperwork from the County Clerk’s Office; the offender’s name, date of birth, and address where they can be served are required.
- Chicago residents: Go to Domestic Violence Courthouse (555 W. Harrison St.)
- Suburban Cook County residents: Go to your local Municipal Courthouse