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Legal Information: Illinois

Restraining Orders

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Laws current as of
January 23, 2024

What can I do if the abuser violates the order?

You can call the police or sheriff, even if you think it is a minor violation. The Illinois Domestic Violence Act requires that police take all reasonable steps to prevent further abuse to you, including possibly arresting the abuser.1 The police need not witness the actual abuse, as long as there is “probable cause” (good reason) to believe that a crime happened.2 Violation of a domestic violence order of protection can be a Class A misdemeanor or, if the abuser has prior convictions for certain other crime(s), it can be a Class 4 felony.3 It is a good idea to write down the name of the responding officer(s) and their badge numbers in case you want to follow up on your case. Make sure a police report is filled out, even if no arrest is made.

When the police arrive, show them a copy of the order of protection. If you don’t have a copy, they can verify its existence by telephone or radio with local law enforcement. Once they verify the order and that it has been served, they may arrest the abuser.4 If the order has not been served, they may serve the abuser, if the abuser is present.

If the police do not arrest the abuser or file a criminal complaint, you may still have the right to file for civil contempt for a violation of the order. It can be a crime and contempt of court if the abuser knowingly violates the order in any way. If the abuser is a minor, the court may hold the parents, guardian, or legal custodian of the minor in civil or criminal contempt for the violation if they directed, encouraged, or assisted the minor in violating the order.5 A judge can punish someone for being in contempt of court. To file for civil contempt, go to the clerk’s office in the courthouse where the order was originally filed, and ask for the necessary forms.

For more information about contempt, including the difference between criminal contempt and civil contempt, go to our general Domestic Violence Restraining Orders page.

1 750 ILCS 60/304(a)(1)
2 750 ILCS 60/301(a)
3 720 ILCS 5/12-3.4(d)
4 750 ILCS 60/301(b)
5 750 ILCS 60/223(b-2)