ICADV "Her"Story

Since 1978, the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) has been charged with the specific and primary purposes of:

  • Eliminating domestic abuse in the State of Illinois, with primary focuses on women and their dependent children;
  • Providing services to the victims of domestic violence;
  • Exposing the roots of domestic violence, with primary emphasis on the institutionalized subservience of women, and on the societal sanction of violence in the family;
  • Providing quality services statewide through cooperative, noncompetitive means and expanding services so that every victim of domestic violence in the state may obtain immediate, comprehensive services locally.

In Illinois each year, approximately 300,000 women and children experience violence in their homes.  In 1978, the majority of women and children in Illinois had no safe place to go, little or no legal protection, and no one to talk with who understood the fear and pain.  Most stayed in the home because there were no options.  Many were killed.


In 1978, twelve small Illinois community groups who recognized the unmet need for services to battered women gathered to make the commitment to provide ongoing choices to those hurt in their homes.  From those grassroots efforts, the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence was formed.  The goals of the coalition founders were to:

  • provide safe places for women and children
  • explain options to victims/survivors
  • secure ongoing funding
  • seek passage of protective legislation
  • train domestic violence staff and volunteers
  • educate the public about the issue

Now, ICADV funds 55 domestic violence programs across the state of Illinois.  Through a collective effort, the landmark Illinois Domestic Violence Act was passed in 1982 and was strengthened in 1986.  Ongoing information is provided to the criminal justice and law enforcement agencies, hospitals, other social service agencies and the general public.  In spite of all of these accomplishments, each month more than 1,200 women and children are turned away from programs due to the lack of space and an inadequate number of staff.
Through its 55 member programs, the ICADV has developed a network of community organizations, businesses and individuals, working together to end domestic violence.  Many of the domestic violence programs around the State of Illinois have networking agreements with local clergy, police, social workers, schools, social service agencies, and criminal justice system personnel.