Definitions of Domestic Violence - Illinois

Date: January 2021

Defined in Domestic Violence Civil Laws

Citation: Cons. Stat. Ch. 750, § 60/103

'Abuse' means physical abuse, harassment, intimidation of a dependent, interference with personal liberty, or willful deprivation but does not include reasonable direction of a minor child by a parent or person in loco parentis.

'Domestic violence' means abuse, as above.

'Harassment' means knowing conduct that is not necessary to accomplish a purpose that is reasonable under the circumstances, would cause a reasonable person emotional distress, and does cause emotional distress to the petitioner. Unless the presumption is rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence, the following types of conduct shall be presumed to cause emotional distress:

  • Creating a disturbance at the petitioner's place of employment or school
  • Repeatedly telephoning the petitioner's place of employment, home, or residence
  • Repeatedly following the petitioner about in a public place or places
  • Repeatedly keeping the petitioner under surveillance by remaining present outside his or her home, school, place of employment, vehicle, or other place occupied by the petitioner or by peering in the petitioner's windows
  • Improperly concealing a minor child from the petitioner, repeatedly threatening to improperly remove a minor child of the jurisdiction or physical care of the petitioner, repeatedly threatening to remove a minor child from the petitioner, or making a single such threat following an actual or attempted improper removal or concealment, unless respondent was fleeing an incident or pattern of domestic violence
  • Threatening physical force, confinement, or restraint on one or more occasions

'Interference with personal liberty' means committing or threatening physical abuse, harassment, intimidation, or willful deprivation so as to compel another to engage in conduct from which he or she has a right to abstain or to refrain from conduct in which he or she has a right to engage.

Defined in Child Abuse Reporting and Child Protection Laws

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Defined in Criminal Laws

Citation: Cons. Stat. Ch. 720, §§ 5/12-3.2 & 3.3; Ch. 725, § 5/112A-3

A person commits 'domestic battery' if he or she intentionally or knowingly without legal justification does either of the following:

  • Causes bodily harm to any family or household member
  • Makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with any family or household member

A person who, in committing a domestic battery, intentionally or knowingly causes great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement commits aggravated domestic battery. A person who, in committing a domestic battery, strangles another person commits aggravated domestic battery. The term 'strangle' means intentionally impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of a person by applying pressure on the throat or neck of that person or by blocking the nose or mouth of that person.

'Abuse,' 'domestic violence,' and 'harassment' have the same meaning as defined in chapter 750, § 60/103, above.

'Physical abuse' includes sexual abuse and means any of the following:

  • Knowing or reckless use of physical force, confinement, or restraint
  • Knowing, repeated, and unnecessary sleep deprivation
  • Knowing or reckless conduct that creates an immediate risk of physical harm

In cases involving stalking, the following terms apply:

  • 'Course of conduct' means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which a respondent directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person; engages in other contact; or interferes with or damages a person's property or pet.
  • 'Stalking' means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person, and he or she knows or should know that this course of conduct would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of a third person or suffer emotional distress.

Persons Included in the Definition

Citation: Cons. Stat. Ch. 750, § 60/103; Ch. 725, § 5/112A-3

In civil and criminal law: 'Family or household members' include the following:

  • Spouses, former spouses, parents, children, stepchildren, and other persons related by blood or by present or prior marriage
  • Persons who share or formerly shared a common dwelling
  • Persons who have or allegedly have a child in common
  • Persons who share or allegedly share a blood relationship through a child
  • Persons who have or have had a dating or engagement relationship
  • Persons with disabilities and their personal assistants
  • Caregivers, as defined in chapter 720, § 5/12-21 or § 5/12-4.4a

For purposes of this paragraph, neither a casual acquaintanceship nor ordinary fraternization between two individuals in business or social contexts shall be deemed to constitute a dating relationship.