Domestic Violence in Illinois – Agencies Face a Funding Crisis

Domestic violence in Illinois is a major problem. It has been exacerbated by a state budget crisis that has hit the agencies meant to provide support for victims.

The scale of the problem was highlighted recently by Peoria Public Radio. The article pointed out the state entered its 22nd month lacking a real budget in April.

The services most impacted by the ongoing political battle are agencies that help victims of domestic violence.

At the best of times, Illinois spends little on combating domestic violence. Well under a tenth of the state budget goes to these services. Since last summer, it’s spent nothing at all.

Domestic violence services were left out of last summer’s stopgap budget altogether. However, legislation to approve new state funding for services is advancing in the Senate.

Vickie Smith, the executive director of Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence represents 62 providers in the state.

Smith said some of the domestic violence groups were forced to lay people off. It means the victims of domestic violence in Illinois have nowhere to turn. Smith said:

“When people have to call us to come into shelter, they’re running for their lives, literally running for their lives. They’re calling us because they have no place else to go.”

Domestic violence is taken very seriously in Illinois and offenders can face tough sentences.

The law is governed by the Illinois Domestic Violence Act which defines the household relationships that can lead to a domestic violence charge fairly widely.

Family of household members are defined as:

  • Family members related by blood such as parents, children or siblings;
  • People who are married or used to be married to each other;
  • People who share or once shared a home, apartment, or other common living space;
  • Those who have or allegedly have a child in common or claim a blood relationship through a child in common;
  • Individuals who are dating, engaged or used to date, including same sex couples;
  • Disabled or elderly people and their caregivers.

The Illinois Domestic Violence Act sets out a range of crimes and sentences for people found guilty of these offenses.

Domestic Battery

If you are convicted of domestic battery you will face Class A misdemeanor which could entail up to one year in jail, a fine or possible probation.

However, in some cases the offense can be charged as a Class 4 felony if the defendant has a criminal history that includes one of the following:

§  Battery involving a minor

§  battery using a firearm,

§  battery entailing sexual assault

If you are convicted of a Class 4 felony you could end up in prison for one to three years. A prosecutor may ask for additional punishment based your criminal history or the sentencing extension laws in Illinois.

Aggravated Domestic Battery

Aggravated domestic battery is a Class 2 felony carrying a potential sentence of three to seven years in prison. If the court allows a probation request, the defendant must spend 60 days incarcerated.

However, a defendant who has a previous conviction for aggravated domestic battery must be sentenced to three to seven years in prison.

The term can rise to an extended term of up to 14 years if a prosecutor can meet all the criteria established by state law.

At Abdallah Law, our attorneys have a long track record in representing people charged with domestic violence offenses. Please read our frequently asked questions.