Domestic abuse is a big concern in our society, and State Representative Chuck Jefferson, D-Rockford, takes it very seriously. There are many different resources available to victims of domestic violence, such as shelters and support groups. However, these are resources available to the victims only after the domestic abuse has occurred. People in abusive relationships need resources to help them prevent the abuse or get immediate help from police when arguments escalate into violence.
Representative Jefferson is trying to do something about that problem. He is starting a cell phone drive, which is coinciding with Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October. People can drop off their old cells phones at Jefferson's office. The cell phones will then be given to a local shelter for victims of domestic abuse. Both working cell phones and broken cell phones will be accepted. The working cell phones will be given to victims so they can contact the police. The old ones will be recycled and the proceeds will go to the shelter.
Many shelters help victims of domestic abuse get the resources they need to help protect themselves. In addition to the criminal charges associated with domestic violence, victims of domestic abuse can also seek an order for protection to help protect themselves and their children from the abusers. These orders can make it illegal for the abuser to contact the victim in any way whether it's in person, on the phone, through email or through a third party.
In Illinois there are three types of orders for protection. There is an emergency, a temporary and a long term order for protection, depending on the safety concerns in each situation. Violating an order for protection is a crime and can carry serious consequences for the person charged to help ensure the safety of the victim as well as the safety of the children, if they are involved in the abuse.
There are unfortunately far too many victims of domestic abuse in Illinois. It is important that the victims and their children are safe. Experienced attorneys can help one understand the actions one can take to help ensure one's safety.
Source: The Rock River Times, "Jefferson to collect cell phones for victims of domestic violence" Online Staff Report, October 2, 2013.