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New Illinois Law Protects Domestic Violence Victims

Posted on in Domestic Violence

b2ap3_thumbnail_domestic-violence-new-law.jpgMany cities and towns across the United States have recently taken harsher stances against neighborhood crime and disturbances. Over the past 25 years, American communities have put in place laws that aim to weed out drug dealers and problem households from neighborhoods. These laws often force landlords to evict tenants from their homes if they become a problem household and the police are too often called to them. While these so called “nuisance” or “crime-free” ordinances are enacted with the intention of increasing neighborhood safety and reducing criminal activity in communities, unforeseen problems have arisen. Now, victims of domestic or sexual violence across the country are left with a choice; call the police and risk losing their homes, or face the violence. A new Illinois law, signed at the end of the summer, aims to protect those victims.

Problem Households

In Illinois, more than 100 communities have put in place some type of “nuisance property” ordinance, one that pressures landlords to evict tenants if the household becomes a problem, or when the police have been called multiple times. While the aim is to put responsibility on the landlord to find responsible, crime-free tenants, the ordinances have created a different problem. Many Illinois domestic violence victims report having to choose between calling the police and risking the loss of their homes, or dealing with the issue on their own.

Typically, domestic violence is more than a one time incident. Many violent offenders are repeat offenders, and someone facing domestic violence should not have to choose between safety and losing their home. Studies conducted in New York, Wisconsin and Missouri show that these “nuisance” ordinances are actually punishing domestic assault victims for calling the police. These ordinances, essentially, place blame on the victim, rather than the aggressor, and ultimately destroy public safety, rather than protect it. Many domestic violence victims have been evicted from their homes due to numerous police calls, when, in reality, the calls were perfectly legitimate and necessary. Instead, thanks to the various “crime free” ordinances, the victims end up being punished for calling the police and losing their homes.

New Protections

On August 21st, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed SB 1547, a law that protects domestic violence victims that require police intervention. The law prohibits Illinois communities from blaming and punishing tenants or landlords for police calls when domestic or sexual violence is involved. For the first time in the State, domestic violence victims need not fear being evicted from their homes if they are in need of police help. While the law was only recently passed, the eventual hope is that assault and violence victims will rely more on police protection and leave less victims blamed and homeless.

Domestic violence is a serious issue and should not be ignored. If you feel you have been a victim of domestic violence, a qualified Naperville family law attorney may be able to help alleviate your situation. Contact the Pesce Law Group today at 630-352-2240 to learn more today.

Sources:

http://www.aclu-il.org/new-illinois-law-says-enough/

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/17/us/victims-dilemma-911-calls-can-bring-eviction.html

http://www.aclu-il.org/new-legislation-introduced-to-prevent-illinois-crime-victims-from-being-evicted-under-local-ordinances/

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