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Know the Laws: Illinois

UPDATED September 19, 2017

Civil No Contact Orders (for Victims of Sexual Assault)

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This civil order provides protection from an abuser if you are the victim of sexual assault, even if you do not have a relationship with the abuser.

Basic info and definitions

back to topWhat is a civil no contact order?

Similar to a domestic violence order of protection, a civil no contact order is a court order that 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.*

* 740 ILCS 22/201

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back to topWhat is the legal definition of non-consensual sexual conduct?

Sexual conduct is when someone:

  • intentionally touches or fondles your sex organs, anus, or breast – either directly or through clothing;
  • intentionally forces you to touch or fondle his/her sex organs, anus, or breast – either directly or through clothing;
  • intentionally touches or fondles any part of the body of a child under 13 years of age; or
  • transfers or transmits semen on any part of your clothed or unclothed body, for the purpose of the his/her sexual gratification or arousal or your sexual gratification or arousal.*
Sexual conduct is “non-consensual” when any of the above acts happen without your voluntary consent/agreement.

* 740 ILCS 22/103

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back to topWhat is the legal definition of non-consensual sexual penetration?

Sexual penetration means any contact, however slight, between the sex organ or anus of one person by an object, or by another person’s sex organ, mouth or anus.  Sexual penetration also includes any invasion into a person’s sex organ or anus by any part of the body of another person, by any animal or by any object.  Sexual penetration includes, but is not limited to, oral sex and anal penetration.*

Sexual penetration is “non-consensual” when it happens without your voluntary consent/agreement.

Note: It is not necessary for there to be evidence of semen in order to prove sexual penetration.*

* 740 ILCS 22/103

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back to topWhat types of civil no contact orders are there? How long do they last?

There are two types of civil no contact orders, which are described below.

Emergency no contact order: An emergency no contact order can be issued if, after reading your petition and possibly questioning you, the judge believes:

  • you are the victim of non-consensual sexual conduct or non-consensual sexual penetration; and
  • there is “good cause” to grant you immediate protection without notifying the abuser beforehand because the abuser would likely harm you if s/he were notified ahead of time that you were going to come to court to ask for a civil no contact order.*
An emergency order can last for between 14 and 21 days.*1  Note: If you need an emergency order when the court is closed, you can request an emergency order from any available circuit judge or associate judge.  There is also supposed to be one judge in each county who is available to issue an emergency order by phone or fax at any time when the courts are closed.*2

Plenary no contact order: A plenary no contact order can be issued after the abuser receives notice of the case and both you and the abuser have a chance to appear in court and present your witnesses and evidence.  The judge can issue a plenary no contact order if s/he believes:
  • you are the victim of non-consensual sexual conduct or non-consensual sexual penetration;
  • the abuser was properly served with notice of the case; and
  • the abuser has responded or failed to appear.  Note: If the abuser receives notice of the case but does not appear in court (also known as being “in default”), the judge can issue you an order in the abuser’s absence.*3
A plenary no contact order can last up to 2 years and can be extended more than once.*4  See Can I extend my civil no contact order? for more information.

The judge cannot deny you a civil no contact order based on any of the following:
  • you (the petitioner) are a minor;
  • the abuser (the respondent) is a minor;
  • the fact that you do not have physical injury from the abuse;
  • the abuser had a reason to use force (unless his/her use of force was legally justified);
  • the abuser was voluntarily intoxicated;
  • you acted in self-defense or in the defense of another (as long as your use of force was justified) or you did not act in self-defense or another; or
  • whether or not you left the house to avoid further abuse.*5
* 740 ILCS 22/214(a)
*1 740 ILCS 22/216(a)
*2 740 ILCS 22/214(c)
*3 740 ILCS 22/215
*4 740 ILCS 22/216(b),(c)
*5 740 ILCS 22/213(a),(c)

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back to topWhere can I file for a civil no contact order?

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.*

* 740 ILCS 22/207; see 740 ILCS 22/218 and Illinois Civil No Contact Order petition

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back to topHow can a civil no contact order help me?

In a civil no contact order, the judge can order that the abuser:

  • stay a certain distance away from you, your residence, school, daycare, or another location;
  • stay away from any property or animal you own, have in your possession or lease and order the abuser not to take, encumber (restrict use), conceal, harm or dispose of your property or animal;
  • not have any contact with you directly, indirectly, or through another person (a “third party.”) Note: It does not matter if the other person (the third party) who contacts you knows about the order or not; and
  • not do any other actions that the judge believes would help protect you.*
If you and the abuser attend the same public or private elementary, middle, or high school, the judge must consider the following additional factors:
  • how serious the abuser’s behavior is;
  • any continuing physical danger or emotional distress to you;
  • your and the abuser’s educational rights under federal and state law; and
  • the expense, difficulty and educational disruption that would be caused by transferring the abuser to another school (since the judge can order that the abuser not attend your school.)  The abuser will have an opportunity to try to prove that transferring or changing schools or programs is not an available option for him/her.  If the abuser is ordered to change schools or transfer programs, the abuser’s parent(s), guardian(s), or legal custodian(s) are responsible for his/her transportation and other costs of changing schools.**
Note: The judge can also order that the parent(s), guardian(s), or legal custodian(s) of a minor who has a civil no contact order issued against him/her take certain actions or not engage in certain actions to make sure that the abuser obeys the order.***

* 740 ILCS 22/213(b-5)
** 740 ILCS 22/213(b-6)
*** 740 ILCS 22/213(b-7)

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