Legal Information: Illinois

Restraining Orders

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March 17, 2022

What is the legal definition of domestic violence in Illinois?

For the purposes of getting an order of protection, domestic violence is defined as any of the following:

  1. Physical abuse - the law defines this as:
    • sexual abuse;
    • physical force, confinement or restraint;
    • purposeful, repeated and unnecessary sleep deprivation; or
    • behavior which creates an immediate risk of physical harm.1
  2. Harassment - unnecessary conduct which causes you emotional distress. The law assumes the following to be harassment:
    • creating a disturbance at your work or school;
    • repeatedly telephoning your work or school;
    • repeatedly following you in a public place or places;
    • repeatedly keeping you under surveillance by staying outside of your home, school, work, vehicle or another place you are in or by peering through your windows;
    • threatening physical force, confinement or restraint on one or more occasions; or
    • improperly hiding your child from you or repeatedly threatening to do so, repeatedly threatening to improperly remove your child from your physical care or from the state, or making a single one of these threats following an actual or attempted improper removal or hiding of your child; (Note: There is an exception for someone who is accused of doing this if s/he was fleeing an incident or pattern of domestic violence).2
  3. Intimidation of a dependent (someone can be “dependent” on the abuser because of age, health or disability) - this is defined as when the abuser makes you participate in or witness physical force, physical confinement, or restraint against any person regardless of whether that person is a family or household member.3
  4. Interference with personal liberty - this is defined as committing or threatening to commit physical abuse, harassment, intimidation, or deprivation, such as not giving you food, medicine, or shelter, with the intention of forcing you to do something you don’t want to do or not allowing you to do something that you have a right to do.4
  5. Willful deprivation – this is defined as purposely denying an elderly or disabled person the medication, medical care, shelter, food or other assistance that s/he needs, thereby putting that person at risk of physical, mental or emotional harm.5

1 750 ILCS 60/103(1), (14)
2 750 ILCS 60/103 (1), (7)
3 750 ILCS 60/103 (1), (10)
4 750 ILCS 60/103 (1), (9)
5 750 ILCS 60/103 (1), (15)

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