CHICAGO – October 1, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today joined community and faith leaders to raise awareness about domestic violence and its devastating effects on families and communities throughout Illinois. During a rally held today in Chicago, Governor Quinn called on all Illinois residents to help put an end to domestic violence and urged victims and their families to seek help.
“Domestic violence knows no boundaries, it exists in all neighborhoods and cities, and affects people in all walks of life,” said Governor Quinn. “We need to make sure we are doing everything possible to put an end to domestic violence and to provide services to help victims and their families regain their lives and keep them safe.”
One in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. In Illinois alone, there are approximately 115,000 to 125,000 domestic crimes each year. According to the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence, approximately 300,000 women and children experience violence in their homes in Illinois each year.
In August 2009, Governor Quinn signed legislation amending the Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act to expand protections to more Illinois workers who are affected by domestic or sexual assault.
Under the law, the Illinois Department of Labor allows employees who are victims of domestic or sexual violence to take up to 12 work weeks of unpaid leave in any 12-month period. The law also prohibits employer discrimination against any employee who is a victim of domestic or sexual violence or their family members.
Governor Quinn also signed two bills, Senate Bill 3269 and House Bill 5976, into law in July to protect the rights of rape and sexual assault victims. These laws address inconsistencies in the handling of sexual assault victims, and the confidentiality of statements made to rape counselors.
The Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) supports dozens of multi-service domestic violence programs throughout the state, offering counseling and advocacy, legal assistance, children’s services, and shelter and support services at no cost to the victim.
Victims of domestic violence are urged to seek help either by calling the Statewide Domestic Violence Helpline, 1-877-TO END DV (1-877-863-6338) or visiting a local help center. For more information on domestic violence or to find a local help center, visit the DHS website at www.dhs.state.il.us.