The role of law enforcement and their responsibilities in domestic violence situations.


PoliceThe Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986 clarifies the responsibilities of law enforcement officers in providing immediate, effective assistance and protection for victims of domestic violence. Whenever a law enforcement officer has reason to believe that a person has been abused, neglected, or exploited by a family or household member, the officer is charged under the statute with the duty to use all reasonable means to prevent further abuse, neglect, or exploitation, including arresting the abusing, neglecting, and exploiting party, where appropriate; seizing and taking inventory of any weapons which were used in the incident; accompanying the victim to his or her place of residence for a reasonable period of time to remove necessary personal belongings and possessions; offering information as to statutory procedures and relief available to victims of abuse and the officer’s name and badge number; providing the victim with one referral to an accessible service agency; advising the victim about seeking medical attention and preserving evidence (specifically including photographs of injury or damage and damaged clothing or other property); and providing or arranging accessible transportation for the victim of abuse (and, at the victim’s request, any minors or dependents in the victim’s care) to a medical facility for treatment of injuries or to a nearby place of shelter or safety; or, after the close of court business hours, providing or arranging for transportation to the nearest available circuit judge or associate judge so the victim may file a petition for an emergency order of protection.


When a victim of abuse chooses to leave the scene of the offense, it shall be presumed that it is in the best interests of any minors or dependents in the victim’s care to remain with the victim or a person designated by the victim, rather than to remain with the abusing party. A law enforcement officer investigating an alleged incident of abuse, neglect, or exploitation between family or household members is required to make a written police report of any bona fide allegation and the disposition of such investigation.


Similar requirements that apply to law enforcement also apply to individuals that administer health care services. Any person who is licensed, certified, or otherwise authorized by the law of Illinois to administer health care in the ordinary course of business or practice of a profession must offer to a person suspected to be a victim of abuse immediate and adequate information regarding services available to victims of abuse. See 750 ILCS 60/101 et seq. Lacey v. Village of Palatine, 882 N.E.2d 1187 (Ill. App. Ct. 1st Dist. 2008).





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