Child Witnesses to Domestic Violence - Illinois

Date: January 2021

Circumstances That Constitute Witnessing

Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 720, §§ 5/12-0.1; 5/12-3.2

In criminal law: For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:

  • 'Child' means a person under 18 years of age who is the defendant's or victim's child or stepchild or who is a minor child residing within or visiting the household of the defendant or victim.
  • 'In the presence of a child' means in the physical presence of a child or knowing or having reason to know that a child is present and may see or hear an act constituting an offense.


Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 720 § 5/12-3.2

In addition to any other sentencing alternatives, a defendant who commits, in the presence of a child, a felony domestic battery, aggravated domestic battery, aggravated battery, unlawful restraint, or aggravated unlawful restraint against a family or household member shall be subject to the following:

  • Be required to serve a mandatory minimum imprisonment of 10 days, perform 300 hours of community service, or both
  • Be liable for the cost of any counseling required for the child at the discretion of the court