It has been nearly one year since Governor Pat Quinn signed the domestic violence legislation into law which made repeat offenses a felony and required schools to report abuse in intimate teenage relationships. The law was signed in August 2013, and, according to an Illinois Government News Network press release, was meant to curb the impact of domestic violence on the roughly 100,000 people affected in Illinois each year. Because it makes repeat offenses a felony, the state government hoped that it would send a message to abusers that “the more often they do harm, the more time they will spend in jail.”
Though figures that directly correlate the new law to a decline in incidents of abuse and abuse arrests are not yet available, the rate of domestic violence in the City of Chicago did decline nearly six percent between 2013 and 2014, as reported in a Chicago Police Department Quarterly Statistical Report.
In the first three months of 2014 alone, there were 9,620 reported incidents of domestic violence. These results were nearly 1,500 less than the same time period a year ago. Total citywide arrests were statistically down across the board, which could be a contributing factor in the decline, but there were 7.6 percent fewer domestic battery arrests in the City during the first quarter of the year as well.
Despite declining numbers, the issue of domestic violence is still a serious one, not only in the Chicago area but also in the country as a whole. The Feminist Majority Foundation notes that one out of every four American women will experience domestic violence at the hand of an intimate partner at some point during her lifetime. More than 110,000 women go to the emergency room every year with injuries sustained in an incident of domestic violence, and statistics show that women who are separated or divorced from their partners experience higher rates of domestic abuse. “This can discourage women from leaving their abusive partner,” reports the Feminist Majority Foundation.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of domestic violence in Illinois, you are not alone. Seek the counsel of a family law attorney to help get your life back on track. Contact an experienced Kane County domestic violence attorney today at the law offices of Mulyk Laho Law, LLC.