Since 1981, the month of October has been recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month across the United States. “Almost 40 years later, victims are still struggling against myths that keep them from being able to fully access the courts in Illinois to design safety plans,” says Vickie Smith, Executive Director of the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Despite the existence of the Illinois Domestic Violence Act (IDVA), more legal processes, procedures, and training are needed to comprehensively serve survivors.

As a means to get to know member program advocates better, the ICADV Director of Policy traveled around the state and facilitated five meetings with anti-domestic violence advocates. What she heard was both enlightening and alarming. It became clear that ICADV needed to share these findings with the lawmakers, advocates and supporters that can make a difference in the lives of Illinois families living with domestic violence.

ICADV developed a report that identifies several trends that are blocking domestic violence survivors from fully accessing the Illinois Domestic Violence Act for protection of themselves and their children. These trends include barriers to Protection Orders and the legal systems’ lack of acknowledgement of the criminal nature of domestic violence. Illinois systems are failing survivors despite the existence of the Illinois Domestic Violence Act. Local processes, procedures, and training on the cycle and trauma that put survivors at an on-going risk of life-threatening harm are much needed. The promise of safety and security provided by the IDVA is consistently and uniformly broken across the state. Areas of the law that are relevant to the challenges are highlighted and recommendations are included within the report.   The full report was shared with key stakeholders prior to its public release today. The report can be found here:

ICADV is calling upon Governor Pritzker, Attorney General Raoul and the Administrative Office of the Courts to help us stop domestic violence in Illinois and to make the Illinois Domestic Violence Act fully accessible to all who are experiencing domestic violence where they live.

For more information contact Vickie Smith, Executive Director, 217-789-2830.