Court Advocates provide assistance in navigating the civil and/or criminal court system including serving as a liaison with law enforcement, State’s Attorney’s Office, clerks and judges.
Court Advocates are available to help anyone experiencing domestic violence to obtain an Order of Protection including filling out required paperwork, filing a petition, preparing you for court appearance and offering support throughout the court process. An Order of Protection is a legal document, granted by a judge to help a victim of domestic violence. It is drafted to meet the unique needs and wishes of the individual, and is enforced by the Court and law enforcement.
Court Advocates also assist you by
- Providing information on the Illinois Domestic Violence Act
- Helping you understand victim’s legal rights and options
- Assisting with paperwork for the Illinois Crime Victim Compensation Program
- Creating an extensive safety plan
- Signing up for the Automated Victim Notification System (if needed)
- Accompanying you to any civil or criminal proceeding to offer support and encouragement
Domestic Violence Counseling
VOICES DV’s Family Advocate provides support to all survivors of domestic violence.
Our Family Advocate understands the many emotions that survivors experience.
VOICES DV staff never tell a survivor what to do, but support them in their decisions. If they choose to stay in their home with their partner, the Family Advocate will assist them with safety planning. If they choose to leave their home and the abuse, the Family Advocate will provide support and advocacy to empower them to live independently.
VOICES DV’s Family Advocate talks with survivors about their safety and helps them to identify the cycle of violence in their lives. She works with each individual to explore personal boundaries, heal their lives, and end the cycle of violence.
Local referrals are made for those individuals who require therapeutic counseling. All domestic violence services are offered free of charge in a confidential setting.
VOICES Domestic Violence Professional staff is available to provide presentations on the following topics:
Overview of Domestic Violence – presentation focuses on all areas of domestic violence and discusses the why individuals stay in an unhealthy relationships, power and control, and why domestic violence is such a vicious cycle. This presentation is ideal for adults and teens.
Domestic Violence and its Impact on Children – this presentation focuses on the effects that domestic violence has on children who are experiencing violence in their homes. This presentation is ideal for anyone who works with children.
Domestic Violence and the Criminal Justice System – this presentation focuses on safety planning, the Illinois Domestic Violence Act, and the legal remedies that are in-place to help a victim of domestic violence. This presentation is appropriate for adults interested in the legal help available to victims of domestic violence.
Emergency Response to Domestic Violence – this presentation focuses on responding to a domestic violence emergency. This presentation is ideal for ambulance personnel and first responders to an actual scene and can be reasonably modified for emergency room personnel.
Domestic Violence and How it Affects Employers – this presentation focuses on the legalities, requirements, and specific issues that affect employers who have an employee who is a victim of domestic violence. This presentation is appropriate for any employer.
Clergy Response to Domestic Violence – this presentation focuses on how religion can be used as a “roadblock” or a “resource” for victims of domestic violence. Discussion centers around why couples counseling doesn’t work, and how clergy can help victims of domestic violence. This presentation is appropriate for clergy of all denominations.
24 Hr. Crisis Hotline
VOICES provides a vital link to safety 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for victims of domestic violence via its Crisis Hotline. Callers are offered one-on-one support, crisis intervention, information on legal rights and options, and resources for immediate safety by trained staff Advocates.
Bilingual support can be accessed through the Language Line which offers translators in 170 different languages.
VOICES operates a Transitional Housing Program, funded by HUD and the United Way of Northwest Illinois for victims of domestic violence (and their children) who as a result of the abuse in their lives find themselves homeless. The program’s goal is to assist victims to become independent and make long-term positive changes to end the violence in their lives and their children. Participants may live in the HUD-certified apartments and homes for up to two years but are obligated to a Commitment Contract and attending weekly counseling and life skills training including Career and Financial Empowerment education. The Application process requires a criminal background check and 4-6 week evaluation period.
Virtual Legal Clinic
VOICES was one of the first DV organizations in Illinois to become part of the Virtual Legal Clinic. In the Virtual Legal Clinic, survivors of domestic violence are provided one hour of free legal consultation using Skype technology. The pro bono attorney, who is trained in working with victims of domestic abuse, does not represent the individual but will answer questions about a wide range of issues including but not limited to: divorce, child custody, marital property and maintenance, employment, finance, debt, credit, immigration and visa and legal rights.
COMING SPRING 2015
A new Support Group will be available for adult victims and survivors of domestic violence. The goal of the group is to promote personal growth, increase self-esteem, understand abuse and the cycle of violence, learn techniques to create safety and positive change, find local resources, meet new friends and gain support through others. Group participation is offered on a drop-in basis once an initial appointment with our Family Advocate has been completed.
IF YOU ARE IN IMMEDIATE DANGER, CALL 911
Safety Planning is the most important service provided by VOICES. If you are experiencing abuse or in an unhealthy marital, family or dating relationship, a safety plan is the best thing you can do for yourself and/or your children whether you decide to end the relationship or stay. A Safety Plan is a personalized and practical plan and helps prepare you for many different situations.