While the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986 was enacted to prevent abuse and harassment between family or household members, the Act is not limited in its application only to persons related by marriage or blood; rather, it was designed to prevent abuse between persons sharing intimate relationships.
Family or household members, as defined under the statute, include: spouses, former spouses, parents, children, stepchildren, and other persons related by blood or by present or prior marriage, persons who share or formerly shared a common dwelling, persons who have or allegedly have a child in common, persons who share or allegedly share a blood relationship through a child, persons who have or have had a dating or engagement relationship, persons with disabilities and their personal assistants, and caregivers as defined by the Criminal Code of 1961. The Act has also been held applicable to parties who had formerly shared a common household.
For purposes of obtaining an order of protection, persons protected under the statute include: any person abused by a family or household member; any high-risk adult with disabilities who is abused, neglected, or exploited by a family or household member; any minor child or dependent adult in the care of such person; and any person residing or employed at a private home or public shelter which is housing an abused family or household member. The plaintiff trying to obtain the Order of Protection must show that the injured person was someone in need of protection under the Act. However, the Plaintiff does not need to prove a particular length of time that the parties have resided together, although it is one factor looked at. Specifically, case law has held that, ” In determining whether the defendant and victim “shared a common dwelling,” and thus, were family or household members, for the purposes of enhancing a sentence for crimes involving domestic violence, the amount of time the parties have resided together is one factor that may be considered; no particular length of time is required, nor is length of time the dispositive factor. S.H.A. 725 ILCS 5/112A–3(3). People v. Almore, 241 Ill. 2d 387, 948 N.E.2d 574 (2011).