One of the most important responsibilities of the DeKalb County State’s Attorney is to vigorously prosecute cases of domestic violence.
- Domestic violence, which can be broadly defined as a set of behaviors Involving various forms of physical or emotional abuse by one or both partners in an intimate relationship, is the most common criminal offense in Illinois.
- According to the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence, there are approximately 115,000 to 125,000 domestic violence cases annually in the state.
- Nationally, the health related costs of domestic violence are close to $6 billion annually and can be measured in terms of higher rates in of chronic illnesses, the shortened life span of victims and lost productivity and wages.
- Furthermore, homicides involving partners in an intimate relationship account for 30% of the murders of women and 5% of the murders of men. In Illinois, there were 59 incidents of domestic violence which took the lives of 76 individuals between June 2009 and May 2010.
The societal cost of domestic violence and the responsibility of Illinois law enforcement agencies to protect the victims means that the State’s Attorney’s Office will file criminal charges whenever there is sufficient evidence. In these cases, the State’s Attorney hopes to receive the cooperation of all victims. The overriding importance of these cases to the general public however, means that even without such cooperation the State’s Attorney will proceed with prosecution.
In addition to prosecuting domestic violence cases, the State’s Attorney’s Office plays a key role in prosecuting violations of an order of protection.
- An order of protection is a court order that places severe limits on the contact that an abuser can have with the victim.
- An order of protection is civil in nature, but if the abuser violates the provisions of the order it is transformed into a criminal matter.
The DeKalb County State’s Attorney’s office will file criminal charges against abusers if there are any reported violations of an order of protection. A conviction can result in probation or incarceration.