Violence Prevention and Public Safety
Filing Protection Orders
Individuals with safety concerns can file protection orders. In Illinois there are 4 types of protection orders:
- Order of Protection: for cases of domestic abuse where the victim has a known relationship with the abuser
- Civil No Contact Order: for cases of sexual assault where there is no relationship with the abuser
- Stalking No Contact Order (SNCO): for incidents of stalking, filed by a victim, or on behalf of a child, elderly or disabled individual
- Firearm Restraining Order: for crisis situations where an individual seeks court help because a family/household member has access to firearms and may cause harm
Orders of Protection
An Order of Protection (also known as a restraining order) is a document issued by a court and signed by a judge to help protect you from harassment or abuse. It restricts someone who has abused a family/household member, spouse or partner in a dating relationship. To obtain an Order of Protection, you can:
- Contact a domestic violence program for assistance.
- Ask an attorney to file in civil court.
- Request an order with your divorce.
- Request an order during a criminal prosecution.
- Go to your local circuit court clerk's office and get papers to seek an order of protection for yourself.
The Illinois Circuit Court has more information on Orders of Protection.
Civil No Contact Orders
A Civil No Contact Order from the court can protect you and your family or household members from an abuser if you are the victim of non-consensual sexual conduct or non-consensual sexual penetration. Unlike the domestic violence order of protection, you do not need to have a specific relationship with the abuser to get a civil no contact order.
These orders offer protections including 'stay-away' provisions and no-contact provisions. Judges can also order the abuser to not engage in any other actions that they believe would harm you.
You can file for a civil no contact order in the circuit court in the county where you live, the county where the abuser lives, or the county where the incident(s) occurred. You can learn more about these orders at Illinois Legal Aid Online.
Stalking No Contact Order
A Stalking No Contact Order by the court can order a stalker to stop following or monitoring you, threatening you, talking or writing to you, including electronic communication, interfering or damaging your property, or coming near you, your workplace, and/or your property.
An SNCO can be requested by you as a victim, or on behalf of a child, or disabled or elderly adult who is the victim of stalking.
You can file for an SNCO with the circuit clerk at the courthouse in the county where you live, where the stalker lives, or where the events happened. To learn more about SNCO, visit Illinois Legal Aid Online and WomensLaw.org.
Firearms Restraining Order
Before many shootings, family members of the shooter have observed dangerous behavior or have grown concerned about their risk of harming themselves or others. Family and household members are often the first to know when someone is in crisis or poses a harm.
A Firearms Restraining Order (FRO) is a way for family or household members or law enforcement to ask a court to restrict a person’s access to guns, ammunition, and firearm parts when that person poses a significant danger to themselves or others. An FRO is a civil court order that temporarily prohibits a person from possessing or buying firearms, ammunition, and firearm parts that could be assembled to make an operable firearm to prevent the commission of gun violence.
A petition for an FRO is obtained through a formal legal process during which a petitioner asks a court to issue an FRO.
- A family or household member as the “petitioner” fills out a petition explaining how the “respondent’s” access to firearms poses an immediate and present danger of causing injury to themselves or others.
- The petition is then filed at the court in any county where the respondent resides.
- The court will hold an emergency hearing the next day it is in session.
- If an emergency FRO is granted, the court will conduct a full hearing within 14 days.
- At a full hearing, the judge considers evidence and determines whether to end the emergency FRO or change it into a plenary FRO.
- Firearms Restraining Orders can be extended or terminated.
When petitioning for an FRO, a family member is defined as: a spouse, former spouse, person with whom the respondent has a minor child in common, parent, child, step-child, any other person related by blood or marriage, or a person who shares a common dwelling.
A petition for a firearm restraining order may be filed in any county where the respondent resides or any county where an incident occurred that involved the respondent posing an immediate and present danger of causing personal injury to the respondent, or another by having in his or her custody or control or purchasing, possessing or receiving a firearm, ammunition, or firearm parts that could be assembled to make an operable firearm.
If you feel a situation calls for a firearms restraining order, you should also immediately contact local law enforcement to report the situation.