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The Domestic Violence Division

 

 

Our History
The Cook County State's Attorney's Office continually strives to improve its services to victims of domestic violence. To that end, in February of 1997, the office created a Domestic Violence Division that aggressively prosecutes these cases on a county-wide basis with a staff of specially trained attorneys.

This division focuses exclusively on cases of domestic violence and the staff works to respond to an increasing caseload which now numbers more than 450 cases a week. These attorneys handle both felony and misdemeanor cases through vertical prosecution, a method that provides consistent service to the victim and continuity to the case as it travels through the system from beginning to end.

Domestic violence is one of the more complicated crimes to which our office responds, and our attorneys benefit from the expertise of a trained staff of investigators and victim-witness specialists. These members of our support staff and attorneys are specially trained in the dynamics of domestic violence, an invaluable component of our overall response.

The division works closely with Chicago and suburban police departments and the advocacy community on collaborative efforts that improve the law enforcement response to these cases, improve the referral network, and on training and education programs that seek to improve the level of understanding of what is needed to successfully prosecute a case.

Our Mission
The mission of our Domestic Violence Division is to respond to all victims of domestic violence in a consistent manner. As a prosecutor's office, we are committed to an innovative strategy that strives to keep the victims safe while treating them with dignity and demanding their offenders be held accountable.

Our Specialties

  • Our office has responded to the problem by assigning thirty specially trained prosecutors, investigators, and victim-witness specialists to domestic violence cases throughout the city and suburbs.

  • Our Domestic Violence Felony Unit contains prosecutors who handle felony domestic violence cases from the initiation of the case through final disposition, including cases involving charges of First Degree Murder, Attempt Murder and Aggravated Stalking.

  • Prosecutors have developed a training program to show how law enforcement personnel can contribute to the successful prosecution of a domestic violence case. This program is available to police departments throughout the county.

  • Training opportunities are continually offered to all prosecutors, investigators, and victim-witness specialists who work on cases involving domestic violence.

  • A Domestic Violence Task Force, sponsored by the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, with members representing a variety of different communities including advocacy service, and law enforcement, is overseen by the Domestic Violence Division and works to improve the Office's policies and procedures

  • The Domestic Violence Division, along with the Chicago Police Department and the Mayor's Domestic Violence Council, have developed a new protocol for responding to domestic violence cases in Chicago.

  • Nationally-recognized experts advise our Division on the best possible procedures and practices.

Funded through a special grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice's Violence Against Women Program, this is a collaboration that joins law enforcement, service providers, the advocacy community, and civil attorneys as a team to assist the victims of domestic violence.

In the TAC program , the Cook County State's Attorney's Office forms a partnership with an independent civil legal service provider to provide a multi-disciplinary response to assist victims. The goal is to target certain abusers and work toward increasing the cooperation of their victims to ensure greater safety. At the same time, the TAC approach strives to hold these high-risk offenders accountable for their actions and provide their victims with the kind of resources that could enable them to move beyond what has happened in their lives.

Together, this team works to develop the kind of evidence, that enhances a special prosecution effort, provide individualized support, and offer accessible civil legal services for each victim. The TAC program is currently being expanded to include all high risk domestic violence cases throughout the entire County.

The Resource Center
The Resource Center was developed to help victims identify and link with services that will best meet their needs, including job and skills training, education programs, counseling, childcare and legal aid organization.

Our Resources
The Domestic Violence Division understands the importance of increasing awareness on domestic violence. Therefore, we have made several resources available to the public.

Surviving Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence video (English/Spanish). Twenty -three minute video which focuses on women who were victims of domestic violence and are now survivors.

Informational Brochures:

  • Domestic Violence Resource Guide
  • Domestic Violence Safety Plan
  • Illinois Stalking Law
  • The Criminal Justice Process
  • Lesbian and Gay Resource Guide

    Victim Information Sheet (English/Spanish/Polish)

    TAC Brochure

    Victim Witness Resource Handbook

    The Resource Book is a compilation of information on the various agencies that assist victims in Cook County. This detailed book is a valuable resource for victims to use as a reference.

    Domestic Violence: A Prosecutor's Guide

    Manual which combines experiences of domestic violence experts and Assistant State's Attorneys to provide a comprehensive resource for prosecutors throughout Illinois on domestic violence.

    Please call 312.325-9220 for information:

    Domestic Violence Division
    555 W. Harrison Street
    Chicago, IL 60607
    312.325-9220
    Fax: 312.325.9270