Domestic violence is a unique crime in that the offender often lives in the same home as the victim. Historically, domestic violence was considered a private family matter and police intervention often consisted of advising the abuser to “cool off” or to “take a walk.” Beginning in the 1970s, this attitude began to change and now domestic violence is recognized as a serious crime against the individual and society. As such, Chicago Police Department members treat domestic violence incidents in the same professional manner as all other crimes and requests for police service – by providing immediate, effective assistance and protection for victims and witnesses.
Domestic Violence Safety Plan
Safety at home, in public, or at work
1. Develop a safety plan.
2. Inform those you trust of your situation. Leave copies of important papers with a friend or family member.
3. Consider obtaining an order of protection, which is a court order requiring your abuser to stop abusing, stalking, or harassing you. You can get an order of protection even if you are living with your abuser. If you have an order of protection, keep it with you. Give copies to your employer and school officials. Make sure security staff is aware of the order of protection.
4. Make sure your children’s school or day care center knows who is authorized to pick up your children. Let them know who is NOT authorized.
5. If your abuser has stalked or threatened you, change your routes to and from work.
6. Have a bag packed and ready and keep it in a secure place. Consider taking: money, checkbook, social security card, passport, driver’s license, green card, birth certificates for you and your children, insurance papers, medications, school records, Order of Protection, divorce papers, lease, keys, address book, jewelry and favorite toys.
7. Plan an escape route and practice it.
8. Develop a code word to use with your family and friends to let them know when you need the police.
Strengthening Our Response
The Chicago Police Department seeks to reduce the incidence and severity of domestic violence in our communities through a coordinated partnership involving law enforcement, domestic violence service providers, prosecutors and the community. This cooperative endeavor, known as the “Chicago Response” protocol, involves the Chicago Police Department, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, and the Mayor’s Office on Domestic Violence. By strengthening our response, we are increasing our ability not only to respond effectively to these crimes, but also to work on the prevention of domestic violence. The Chicago Police Department’s (CPD) response has extended beyond the first responding officer, involving a coordinated effort between various CPD units, external organizations, and City agencies.
What resources are available to help victims?
The City of Chicago Domestic Violence Help Line:
The City of Chicago Domestic Violence Help Line offers a variety of domestic violence referrals to victims, based on their individual needs. The Help Line is toll-free, confidential, multi-lingual and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Trained staff members known as VIRAs (Victim Information and Referral Advocates) provide support, information and referrals for shelter, legal services and counseling.