Cook County State’s Attorney Richard A. Devine reminds the citizens of Cook County of possible strategies and precautions that will help victims of domestic violence plan for safety. Furthermore, he urges victims of domestic violence to report incidents of abuse to hold these abusers accountable for their actions. State’s Attorney Devine asserts that prosecution of cases involving domestic violence is at the top priority of the Office. Rest assured, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office will assist victims in what they need.
“You may not have control over another person’s violent behaviour, but you do have choices about how you respond. Victims of domestic violence can take steps to increase their safety and the safety of their children.
The Cook County State’s Attorney s Office has established a special Domestic Violence Prosecutions Division. The Division is working to create and implement a county-wide strategy to hold abusers accountable for their actions and to offer victims the help they need.
The prosecution of these cases is a top priority in my office. If you happen to become a victim, always report incidents of abuse to the police.”
Richard A. Devine,
Cook County State’s Attorney
The following are safety measures that a victim may employ to increase safety within set conditions:
For Safety in Own Residence:
- Create a safety plan and talk about it to your children. Review the plan as often as possible
- Change the locks on the doors and windows
- Replace wooden doors with steel/metal doors
- Install security systems around the house, including additional locks, poles to wedge against doors, window bars, electronic system, among others
- Purchase rope ladders for emergency escape through second-floor windows
- Install fire extinguishers and smoke detectors for each room in the house
- Install an outside lighting system, which activates when a person is close to the house
- Inform neighbors and landlords that your abuser no longer lives with you, and should, therefore, call the police once abuser is spotted around the vicinity
- Inform your children’s school, daycare center, or camp of who is authorized to pick up your children
- Before resuming a potentially abusive relationship, discuss alternatives with someone you trust
For Safety in Public or at Work
- If applicable, always keep the order of protection with you
- Talk about your situation to coworkers that you can trust, and inform building security
- Provide a photograph of your abuser to the building security to forbid told abuser to enter the building.
- Constantly change your routes to and from work and as much as possible, arrange someone to escort you to your car, or a public transportation system.
- Plan what to do in various situations involving a confrontation with the abuser.
For Safety during Volatile Domestic Violence Incident
- During unavoidable arguments, move into a room with easy access to a way out and avoid rooms with firearms
- Identify which door, window, stairwell or elevator offers the quickest way out of the home – and practice your route
- Prepare a bag packed with necessities for evacuation. Keep the bag hidden but easily accessible for when you need to retrieve it quickly
- Inform trustworthy neighbors of your current situation and request for them to call the police when they hear a disruption
- Create a safe-word when you need the police, to use with your children, family, and friends
- Establish where to retreat if you must leave, even if you do not currently think it will come to that
- Follow your judgement and instincts. Consider giving the abuser what he or she wants to defuse a dangerous situation
- Remember, You should never be battered or threatened. You have a right to protect yourself and your family when you are in danger.
A Checklist of Things You May Need to Take with You When You Leave
- Birth certificates – yours and your children’s
- Money, checkbook, passbook
- Order of Protection
- Insurance papers
- Divorce papers
- House and car keys
- Jewelry/saleable objects
- Address book
- Lease, rental agreement, or house deed
- School records
- Form of Identification – passport, Social Security card, driver’s license, green card, public assistance ID, work permit, etc.
Updated: August 11, 2020