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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.

After the hearing

back to topCan a civil no contact order be changed (modified)?

You can file a motion to request that the judge modify (change) an emergency or plenary civil no contact order.*  However, once 30 days have passed since the judge issued you a plenary no contact order, the judge can only change the order if there has been a change in the law or the facts of your case, which causes the judge to believe that there should be a change of the terms of your order.**

The only time that the abuser can file to change an order is once the abuser is served with your emergency ex parte no contact order.  The abuser can file a petition to request that the judge reopen the case and reconsider the petition based on the facts that:

  • the abuser did not receive prior notice of the initial hearing where the emergency ex parte order was entered; and
  • the abuser had a valid defense that would have prevented the judge from issuing the order or any of the relief issued in the order.***
If the abuser files this type of request, s/he only has to provide you with two days’ notice of the court hearing where the request will be decided by the judge.***

* 740 ILCS 22/218.5(a)
** 740 ILCS 22/218.5(b)
*** 740 ILCS 22/218.5(c)

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back to topCan I extend my civil no contact order?

Yes.  An emergency or plenary civil no contact order can be extended one or more times if there is “good cause” to do so.  However, if you are not asking the judge to make any changes to the extended order, and the abuser doesn’t oppose your request for an extension, the judge can extend the order just based on your statement that there has been no change in circumstances since entry of the order and based on whatever reason you give for requesting the extension.*

* 740 ILCS 22/216(c),(d-5)

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back to topWhat can I do if the abuser violates the order?

Violating a civil no contact order can be against the law.  There are two ways to get help if the abuser violates the order.

Through the Civil Court System (Civil)
You may file for civil contempt for a violation of the order.  The abuser may be in "civil contempt" if s/he does anything that your civil no contact order prohibits him/her from doing or if s/he does not do something that is required in the order.*  To file for civil contempt, go to the clerk's office and ask for the forms to file for civil contempt.

Through the Police or Sheriff (Criminal)
If the abuser violates the civil no contact order, you can call 911 immediately, and the respondent can be arrested.*1  The respondent must have received notice of the existing order, by service, appearance in court, or another method that shows s/he had knowledge of the order.*2  The first violation can be a Class A misdemeanor and a second or subsequent violation can be a Class 4 felony.*3 

The penalties for violating a civil no contact order can include incarceration, payment of restitution, a fine, payment of attorneys' fees and costs, or community service.*4

* 740 ILCS 22/220(b),(d)
*1 740 ILCS 22/220(c)
*2 740 ILCS 22/220(e)
*3 740 ILCS 22/219
*4 740 ILCS 22/220(h)(1)

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