What is an Order of Protection?
An Order of Protection is a legal court document granted by a judge. It orders the person who has threatened or hurt you to stop. It is very important that an Emergency Order of Protection is obtained as soon as possible after an occurrence of domestic violence.

Who are persons considered to be family or household members?
The Illinois Domestic Violence Act defines family or household members as:

  • Persons related by blood or by present or former marriage.
  • Persons who have or have had a dating or engagement relationship.
  • Parents.
  • Children.
  • Stepchildren.
  • Significant other/partner.
  • Persons who share or allege to have a blood relationship through a child.
  • Persons who live together or formerly lived together.
  • Persons with disabilities and their personal assistants.

How much will an Order of Protection cost?
It’s free. The IDVA states that there are no fees charged for filing an Order of Protection.

How long does an Order of Protection last?
Your attorney or court advocate can best answer this question for you. There are three types of Orders of Protection. Each type may be granted for a specific length of time.

  • EMERGENCY ORDER OF PROTECTION: This order can be in effect for a 14- to 21-day period.
  • INTERIM ORDER OF PROTECTION: This order can be effective for up to 30 days.
  • PLENARY ORDER OF PROTECTION: This order can be in effect for a fixed period of time, not to exceed two years, unless otherwise provided for by the court. This order can also expire by the occurrence of a specific event.

Where do I get an Emergency Order of Protection?
You can file for an Emergency Order of Protection Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the first floor at the Will County Courthouse, 14 W. Jefferson St., in downtown Joliet.

How do I obtain an Emergency Order of Protection?

  • The petition you will file will ask about the most recent incident of domestic violence as well as past incidents of abuse.
  • You should write down as much detail as possible.
  • Your children may be protected under your Emergency Order of Protection. You need to write about any abuse directed at them.
  • You will go before a judge who will hear your petition.
  • Tell the judge about the abuse.
  • Try to stay calm and answer any questions the judge may have.
  • If you are afraid of your abuser, you must tell the judge.
  • The judge may grant your Emergency Order of Protection for a two- or three-week period. Or the judge will schedule a new date for a hearing on the petition.
  • You will have to come back in about three weeks to get a Plenary Order, which can last up to two years.
  • At the hearing for the Plenary Order, the abuser will have a chance to appear and tell his side of the story.
  • Don’t be afraid. The judge will ensure both sides are heard.

How are the Orders of Protection filled out?
Domestic Violence victims are assisted by courthouse employees and/or domestic violence advocates with secure on-line process. This website is: www.illinoisprotectionorder.org. This on-line process includes multiple pages of past and present incidents of violence. Once the orders are filled out, they are taken before a judge to be reviewed.

Can I fill out my own Order of Protection?
Yes. The website, www.illinoisprotectionorder.org, can be accessed on any computer at any time. The victim or person assisting the victim will receive a receipt number at the beginning of the process. This number should be kept in a safe location and taken to the courthouse when the victim is ready to proceed with the Order of Protection. The victim must take the receipt number to the Order of Protection Room, and the courthouse employees will assist the victim in preparing the order for the judge for review.

Do I need pictures or a police report to obtain an Emergency Order of Protection?
Police reports and pictures can be helpful, but are not necessary to file for an Emergency Order of Protection. If you have visible injuries, ALWAYS take pictures. If possible, have a friend accompany you to get an Emergency Order of Protection.

Who is the respondent and who is the petitioner?
The victim files the petition and is called the petitioner. The petition is filed against the abuser who is called the respondent.

How long will I be in the courthouse?
The process of filing for an Emergency Order of Protection can be lengthy and may take several hours. For your convenience, washrooms are located on each floor of the courthouse and there is a snack room on the first floor as well as many eating establishments within walking distance.

How do criminal charges affect my Order of Protection?
They don’t. Orders of Protection and criminal charges are two separate issues.
If no criminal charges are filed, or if they are dismissed, you may still petition for an Order of Protection.