Get to Know ICADV
The Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) is a membership organization working to eliminate domestic violence in Illinois. ICADV serves over 50 statewide agencies who provide direct service to survivors and their dependent children.
Working to End Domestic Violence in Illinois
Domestic violence can happen to anyone, from any background, at any age and at any time. No matter where you come from, where you’ve been, or where you are now, there is hope for a better life, one free of violence. And we want to do everything in our power to help.
Together with our member organizations, we aim to increase access to ever-improving services for survivors of all backgrounds. We do this by advocating for strong policies that keep survivors safer and hold batterers accountable. We also strive to educate the public on the root causes of domestic violence, and with that increased awareness, focus on preventing the cycle of violence from continuing. A more just, accepting, and safe society for everyone is our ultimate goal.
What We Do
Advocate for safer policy
By educating lawmakers, other professionals, and the public on the myriad of challenges survivors face when seeking help, we can help ensure safer outcomes through thoughtful and strong policy.
Train those on the front lines
We coordinate and provide state-required training and continuing education for professional domestic violence advocates, as well as those working with survivors in the community, like law enforcement, social workers, mental health professionals, and more.
Give technical assistance
We provide support and resources to our member organizations who are working with survivors every day. We assist in an array of ways, from securing grants to organizing and structuring a new program. Our goal is to help our members be successful as possible as they provide quality services to survivors and their children.
Where We Started
During the 1970s, much of the general public thought domestic violence was strictly a private issue, only concerning those within a family. With so little cultural understanding of the problem, there were few to no resources available to help battered women and their children escape these dangerous and frightening situations. Without legal protections, without someone to talk to, and without anywhere to go, many women stayed. And many women were killed.
Seeing this dire need for services, twelve small community groups in Illinois committed to providing desperately needed options for battered women. ICADV was formed in 1978, with the goals 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
The original members were dedicated to improving the options and outcomes for survivors. Some even slept in the office by the phone, ready to answer hotline calls that may come in the middle of the night. As volunteers sheltered survivors in their homes, women began to feel more comfortable sharing their experiences, and more people started to listen. Eventually others outside the coalition mobilized—shelters opened, counselors joined the ranks, more phone lines went up, and slowly but surely hope for a better, safer life began to grow.
Through a lot of effort and determination, ICADV members helped to write the landmark Illinois Domestic Violence Act (IDVA). Passed in 1982, the law went into effect in Illinois twelve years prior to the first federal Violence Against Women Act in 1994. Over the years the ICADV’s membership has grown to over 50 organizations, helping survivors all across Illinois.
Where We’re Headed
Though we’ve come a long way from where we started, there is still much to be done. It is estimated that approximately 1 in 3 women and 1 in 7 men experience domestic violence every year in Illinois. In the face of these unacceptable numbers, it’s the same dedication and passion for helping survivors that drove us in 1978 that continues to drive us today.
Our vision for the future includes justice reform that increases safety for all and eliminates violence in all its forms.
Want to Join Us?
You can build safer communities by strengthening the move to end domestic violence. Join ICADV as a service provider, a community organization, or a friend of the coalition.