College of Law > Academics > Experiential Learning > Legal Clinics > Croak Community Legal Clinic > Student Legal Resources > Resources > Online Self-Help Center >
Crime Victim Resources
Have You Been the Victim of a Crime?
Learn how to receive financial assistance, track the status of pending criminal cases, and more
The Illinois Crime Victims' Compensation Fund
Innocent victims of crime may be eligible for direct finanical assistance pursuant to the Illinois Crime Victim Compensation Program. This program may cover up to $27,000 in expenses directly resulting from a crime, including medical expenses and lost wages.
In order to be eligible for compensation, a victim must report the crime to the police within 72 hours, or 7 days for survivors of crimes involving sexual violence. The victim must not have contributed to his/her injury by engaging in wrongful acts, being the offender or accomplice, or provoking the incident.
An application for compensation must be completed within 2 years of the crime. The application is here and at the Illinois Crime Victim Compensation Program website.
Once an application is approved, the victim will receive additional forms to complete for the Illinois Attorney General. These forms must be completed within 30 days of receipt in order to access the compensation funds.
How to Track a Criminal Case or the Custody Status of an Offender
If you are interested in knowing the status of a criminal case or the custody status of an offender in the State of Illinois, you can register with the Illinois Automated Victim Notification System (AVN). This system will allow you to opt in to receiving notifications about an arrested offender - including whether they are still in police custody, in prison, any court rulings against the offender, and whether they have registered as a sex offender. Notifications can be received over the phone, via text message, or via email, depending on your preference.
Orders of Protection and Restraining Orders
What is an Order of Protection?
In Illinois, you can obtain an Order of Protection (also known as a restraining order) to prevent an abuser from harming you, your children, your family, and your pets. It will also protect your belongings and prevent them from contacting you.
How to Obtain an Order of Protection
Collect as much evidence as you can to bolster your case - police reports, photos, texts, e-mails, medical records, etc.
Contact a domestic violence program or a lawyer to help you create your petition - A great resource in Cook County is the Domestic Violence Legal Clinic. They will help you throughout the process of writing a petition and arguing before the judge. You can also contact the State of Illinois Domestic Violence Helpline at (877) 863-6338. Additionally, you can find the form for the Order of Protection at Illinois Legal Aid Online. For a list of domestic violence organizations, check out the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
File your petition at any civil court. The Domestic Violence Courthouse (555 W. Harrison St. #1900) specifically hears these types of cases, but you can file at any civil courthouse.
You can also petition for an Order of Protection as part of an existing case, such as a divorce or criminal case.
If a judge agrees that an Order of Protection is necessary, they will issue the Emergency Order that day. The abuser will be served with court papers, including what they can and cannot do to you, your belongings, and your family. Return on the court date included in your paperwork to argue for a long-term, Plenary Order of Protection.
If the abuser contacts you or harms you or those protected by the Order, they are breaking a court order and can be arrested immediately. If you call the police, be sure to notify the officers that you have an active Order of Protection.
Be sure to notify your and/or your children's work, school, and family of the Order of Protection, so as to ensure the abuser does not violate the Order without your knowledge
What is Stalking?
Illinois law [720 ILCS 5/12-7.3] defines stalking as a "course of conduct directed against another person, which they know or should know will cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or safety of a third party or cause a victim emotional distress."
What Constitutes a "Course of Conduct"?
When considering whether stalking has occurred, police and courts will generally look to see if the accused has acted repeatedly in a pattern of harassment, such as:
Repeated contact without your consent
Someone following, approaching, or confronting you
Someone arriving at your residence or workplace without your consent
Someone delivering items to your residence or workplace
Someone damaging your property or harming your pets
Source: Illinois Legal Aid Online & Illinois Attorney General's Stalking No Contact Order Handout
No Contact Orders for Stalking Victims
Victims of stalking may seek a No Contact Order top prevent further incidents:
Collect as much evidence as you can to bolster your case - police reports, photos, texts, e-mails, witness testimony, etc.
Contact a domestic violence program or a lawyer to help you create your petition. Additionally, you can find the forms for the petition on Illinois Legal Aid Online. Make three copies before submitting them to the a civil courthouse. Locations found here.
Be prepared to have a judge hear your case that day. You can be granted an Emergency Order of Protection that day if the judge decides the need is pressing.
The Sheriff will serve the adverse party with the court papers. If the person continues to stalk you, they are breaking a court order and can be arrested.
You will have to return to court if you would like to petition for a long-term, Order of Protection. This can last up to two years.
Be sure to notify your workplace, school, or organization of any Orders of Protection so as to ensure the stalker is not granted entry.
Sexual and Relationship Violence
DePaul University Statement Regarding Sexual and Relationship Violence Answer
Every member of the DePaul University community has the right to safety from the threat of sexual and relationship violence. Grounded in our commitment to valuing the dignity of all people, DePaul fosters a culture of respect and safety by implementing best practices in education, prevention, and holistic support and care. DePaul does not tolerate sexual and relationship violence and addresses incidents swiftly and equitably.
Reporting Sexual and Relationship Violence
In addition to reporting sexual and relationship violence to the police, DePaul has internal reporting mechanisms, as well.
To file a complaint with the university's Title IX Coordinator, please use the form available here. You may also file a complaint by contacting the Title IX Coordinator by telephone at (773) 325-7290 or via email at email@example.com. Complaints may be filed anonymously.
Please review the university's Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy for a detailed description of the complaint procedure and investigation process.
Under Illinois law, a person commits criminal sexual assault if that person commits an act of sexual penetration and:
Uses force or threat of force;
Knows the victim lacks capacity to give consent;
Is a family member of the victim and the victim is under 18 years old;
Is at least 17 years old, holds a position of authority or trust over the victim, and the victim is between 13 and 18 years old.
Criminal charges may be pursued through the Illinois State's Attorney. The criminal penalties for sexual assault range from a Class 1 felony (4-15 years in prison); to a Class X felony (6-60 years mandatory prison, with possible extension up to life in prison).
Survivors may also opt to seek an Order of Protection (described above), or file a civil lawsuit against those responsible.
Please review our list of Legal and Supportive Service Referrals if you wish to pursue legal action regarding domestic, sexual, or relationship violence.
If someone has disclosed to you their experience of sexual violence, the most important thing to remember is to believe them. Hearing phrases like "I believe you," or "You did not deserve this," or "It was not your fault," can be invaluable to someone who is questioning why this has happened to them. Additionally, it is important to remember the following:
Listen to what the person is saying. Believe them when they say that they have experienced something awful.
Express sincere empathy. Expressing empathy can be a powerful validation of a survivor's experience.
Provide referrals to on- and off-campus support services.
Validate feelings. It's not uncommon for people to feel angry when something like this happens.
Don't make assumptions about the gender of the people involved. Sexual assault occurs among all genders and sexual orientations.
Don't tell the person what to do. It's important to empower survivors to make decisions for themselves and to have those decisions respected.
Don't tell the person how to feel. Survivors may feel numb or experience shame, anger, depression and/or many other feelings.
Remember, everyone reacts differently to trauma.
Educate yourself about the myths of rape. Remember, rape is never the fault of the survivor, but the fault of the rapist. While this may seem simple and obvious, much of the misinformation that exists points to the victim as being responsible for the rape. To truly be supportive, one must believe the survivor while disbelieving and challenging the myths that surround rape.
Relax. Try not to worry much about "saying the right thing." Being available to listen is far more important. Let the survivor know that you care.
Your friend may or may not also be experiencing Rape Trauma Syndrome. The symptoms of Rape Trauma Syndrome can last long after the assault. More information on Rape Trauma Syndrome can be found at the website of Rape Victim Advocates.