SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — Victims of abuse who file no-contact orders of protection could soon see enhanced safety measures to prevent their attackers from contacting them online under a new proposal in the legislature.
As social media messaging platforms continue to grow in popularity, state senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) says orders of protection should expand to protect victims of abuse and help them make a clean break from their abusers.
The proposed bill would expand the no-contact order to include all electronic contact such as texting, emailing, and social media messages as a violation. Although each case would vary, if a person was to violate the law, they could face the same repercussions as they would if they were to come into contact with the person directly. Currently, the state’s restraining order only applies to in-person communication.
Bush says with the increase of communication through online platforms, this is a change that needs to be added into the law. She argues many victims may not know what options and protections may be available for them today.
“It’s knowing about no-contact orders,” she said, “understanding what your rights are, and making sure that if you believe you’re being violated, make sure to reach out, get the help, you need, get a no-contact order.”
Bush said because of the global pandemic and the stay-at-home order, many people were trapped at home with their abuser with few options to seek help. She believes the proposed legislation can help protect victims and provide safety to victims in need.
“During COVID, we’ve seen domestic violence really spike,” Bush said. “There are people that are living together, that probably shouldn’t be living together. Frankly, there has been more fighting, more abuse. Those numbers have increased exponentially.”
The Senate Criminal Law Committee cleared the measure for a vote on the Senate floor.