In February of 1997, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office founded the Domestic Violence Division in order for the criminal justice system to fully acknowledge and address the domestic violence occurring within the communities of the County. The Domestic Violence Division was developed to prosecute related cases on a county-wide basis aggressively.
Being one of the most complicated crimes that the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office handles, the Office created a division which solely responds to domestic violence. The Domestic Violence Division consists of exceptional prosecutors, as well as a trained staff of investigators and victim-witness specialists, who exclusively responds to, currently an increasing caseload of, over 1,200 cases a week. Attorneys working in the division prosecutes under both felony and misdemeanor charges, by which a vertical prosecution is employed. As such, prosecutors under the Domestic Violence Division provides consistent service to the victim and the community from the beginning of the prosecution of the case, and through its disposition. With the aid of the exemplary personnel of the division, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office is able to provide an overall response suited for the dynamics of domestic violence.
The Domestic Violence Division aims to strengthen its services to the victims, including referral networking, improve law enforcement response to the related case, and provide an enhanced training and education programs that will help improve the understanding of victims and witnesses of what is required to prosecute a case successfully. The division works closely with the Chicago Police Department and community-based organizations in collaborative efforts to achieve the goals of the Domestic Violence Division.
The Domestic Violence Division of the Cook County has a mission to provide consistent service, and an overall response suitable to all victims of domestic violence. Additionally, the division is committed to an innovative strategy, which also strives to guarantee an immediate and respectful response to the victims of domestic violence, while assuring that they are treated with fairness and respect for their dignity and privacy throughout the criminal justice process.
- The Domestic Violence Division consists of thirty specially trained prosecutors, investigators, and victim-specialists, which are assigned solely to domestic violence cases throughout the city and suburbs
- The Domestic Violence Felony Unit consists of exceptional prosecutors who prosecute felony domestic violence cases, including charges of First-Degree Murder, Attempted Murder, and Aggravated Stalking. These designated prosecutors are also assigned to see the case through, from initial admittance to the final disposition of the case.
- A training program that serves to contribute to the improvement of understanding on the requirements of a successful prosecution of domestic violence has been made by prosecutors and is made available to police departments throughout the County.
- Training opportunities are continually offered to all prosecutors, investigators, and victim-witness specialists who specialize in cases involving domestic violence.
- Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office kindly sponsored a Domestic Violence Task Force, which exists to improve the policies and procedures within the Domestic Violence Division, and of the Office. The task force consists of a variety of different representatives from entities, including advocacy services and law enforcement agencies.
- The Domestic Violence Division worked in collaborative efforts with the Chicago Police Department and the Mayor’s Domestic Violence Council to develop a new protocol for domestic violence case response within Chicago.
- The Domestic Violence Division seeks advice from nationally recognized experts on the best possible procedures and practices when dealing with domestic violence cases.
Target Abuser Call – T.A.C.
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office – Target Abuser Call Program is funded by the United States Department of Justice Violence Against Women Program through special grants. It serves to assist the victims of domestic violence, in collaboration with law enforcement agencies, the advocacy community, civil attorneys, and service providers.
Additionally, the TAC Program provides a multi-disciplinary response to assist victims of domestic violence through a partnership with an independent civil legal service provider. The TAC Program was built to target abusers and hold these high-risk offenders accountable for their actions while ensuring greater safety for the victims and aid them through available resources that would hopefully enable them to move beyond the tragic events that happened in their lives.
The TAC Program aims to encourage and increase cooperation of the victims to successfully prosecute their offenders through providing individualized support and offering accessible civil legal services to each domestic violence victim. The TAC team also works to bring about the kind of evidence that strengthens and enhances prosecution efforts. With the exemplary work of the TAC team in handling domestic violence cases, the TAC Program is currently targeted to expand and include high-risk domestic violence cases within the entire County.
The Resource Center
The Resource Center was developed with the goal to assist victims in locating and gaining access to services that best meet their needs, including services such as education programs, counseling, job and skills training, childcare, and legal aid organization.
The Domestic Violence Division has made several resources available to the public in order to address and provide increased awareness of domestic violence.
Surviving Domestic Violence
A twenty-three-minute video on Domestic Violence is available in English or Spanish. The video speaks of women who were victims of domestic violence and are now survivors.
The Domestic Violence Division also offers brochures on the following:
- Domestic Violence
- Domestic Violence Safety Plan
- Illinois Stalking Law
- The Criminal Justice Process
- Lesbian and Gay Resource Guide
The Domestic Violence: A Prosecutor’s Guide is a manual that provides combined experiences of domestic violence experts and Assistant State’s Attorney, which makes a comprehensive resource for prosecutors who specializes on domestic violence throughout the State of Illinois.
For more information, contact the Domestic Violence Division:
Domestic Violence Division
1340 S. Michigan, Room 400
Chicago, IL 60605
Updated: August 31, 2020