Article  |  Victimization

Comprehensive Legal Services for Victims of Crime

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Victims present with a range of legal needs that vary based upon their unique victimization experiences. Meeting a victim’s legal needs is key to ensuring their safety and security and enabling them to continue to recover from their experience. Research suggests that victim legal services are related to a lower risk of revictimization by an intimate partner and improved financial independence.[1] Victims need comprehensive legal services, including legal advocacy, civil legal services, and victim rights enforcement, but barriers often impede accessibility. While victim service providers have incorporated strategies to overcome those barriers, funding is needed for victim services that address both legal needs and related accompanying needs, such as transportation assistance and translation services.

Comprehensive legal services for victims of crime include three complementary components: legal advocacy, civil legal services, and victim rights enforcement. Legal advocates and attorneys work separately or in tandem to provide comprehensive legal services to victims.

Legal advocacy. Legal advocates are instrumental in assisting victims in navigating the legal system and providing supportive services to victims. Domestic violence and sexual assault victim service providers in Illinois describe legal advocates as engaging in the following types of services with victims:[2]

Information Exchange

Advocates provide essential legal information to victims, including information on their rights, how the court system works, and how to obtain an order of protection or civil no contact order.


Advocates accompany victims as they navigate different stages of the legal process, from filing a police report to talking to a prosecutor about the case and then testifying in court.

Additional Support Services

Advocates can assist victims in obtaining an order of protection or civil no contact order, in applying for victim compensation, and in drafting victim impact statements.[3]

Civil legal services. Attorneys engage in a more complex form of legal advocacy, wherein they have the ability to legally represent victims. Civil legal services occur within civil court, not a criminal court setting. In a criminal proceeding the prosecutor has discretion in bringing charges against the offender, whereas in civil court the victim initiates a complaint against the offender.[4] Legal services that civil legal attorneys may provide to victims include:

Family Law

Attorneys offering civil legal services to victims can represent them in divorce, custody and visitation, and child and spousal support matters.[5]

Orders of Protection

Attorney knowledge and expertise may be needed to obtain an order of protection that addresses a victim’s legal needs more comprehensively. Civil legal attorneys can work to include provisions regarding financial support and child custody or visitation into the order of protection.[6]


Attorneys can help to provide immigration relief to immigrant victims of crime through legal remedies, including VAWA, U Visas, T Visas, and the Battered Spouse Waiver.[7]

Victim Rights Enforcement

Victim rights enforcement is an expansion of the type of work that legal advocates regularly engage in and is another legal service that attorneys may provide victims. This work centers on the protection of victim rights, which are legally protected through the Rights of Crime Victims and Witnesses Act.[8] This act delineates rights all victims are entitled to in the State of Illinois, including: [9]


The role of an advocate in protecting victim rights is to inform the victim of those rights, and to advocate for these rights in legal settings. A victim rights attorney has the ability to invoke the force of law to promote compliance with victim rights legislation. Victim rights attorneys can utilize a number of legal remedies to enforce victim rights:

Right to Privacy

A victim rights attorney can file a protective order to bar the defendant from disclosing the victim’s name, or file a writ of mandamus/prohibition, requiring law enforcement personnel and the court system to redact a victim’s name from all legal documents and use a pseudonym moving forward.[10] They may also file a motion to quash a subpoena that seeks a victim’s personal information, such as medical, psychological, educational, and computer records.[11]

Right to be Present

A victim rights attorney can advocate for appropriate accommodations for the victim when testifying. The use of live video conferencing or closed circuit TV, the presence of a support person or comfort dog/object, and the use of a disguise have been permitted in certain jurisdictions.[12]

Right to Make a Statement at Sentencing

In the event that a victim’s right to be heard at sentencing is denied, an attorney can request that the sentencing hearing be redone.[13]

The availability of civil legal services and victim rights enforcement are necessary components to victim services as they both help to meet a victim’s safety needs. Legal advocates play an integral role in supporting victims as they navigate the criminal justice system, but cannot offer legal advice or represent a victim in court. Attorneys work to ensure that the more complex legal needs of crime victims are met and that their rights as victims are enforced. Thus, advocates and attorneys are integral components of a comprehensive legal services program design.

Victim Need

The need for comprehensive legal services in Illinois was a key finding in ICJIA’s recent statewide needs assessment.[14] Illinois victim service providers responded to an online survey on the needs of victims resulting from their victimization experience (N = 235). Providers cited three distinct types of legal services as top needs for victims: criminal justice advocacy, civil legal assistance, and help applying for victim compensation.

Criminal justice advocacy for victims includes providing information on the criminal justice process, assistance obtaining an order of protection, and accompanying victims during criminal justice proceedings.[15] Civil legal assistance refers to advocacy in civil court as well as attorney services for legal needs such as divorce, child custody, and immigration.[16] Legal advocates also often assist clients in applying for victim compensation, which reimburses eligible victims of violent crime for certain expenses they incur as a result of their victimization.[17]

Legal services emerged in survey responses as an enduring victim need. Providers reported that victims needed legal services whether they were in the immediate (0-3 months), intermediate (3-6 months), or long-term (6-12 months) post-victimization phases. More than half of providers indicated that victims need legal services immediately following victimization (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Legal Needs Post-Victimization


The type of legal service a victim needs varied across recovery points. The need for civil legal assistance decreased from 18 percent in the immediate phase to 11 percent in the long-term phase. The need for criminal justice advocacy also dropped from a high of 32 percent in the immediate phase to 21 percent in the long-term phase. Providers offering criminal justice advocacy and civil legal assistance services help victims obtain emergency protection orders, which is likely the greatest need in the time immediately following a victimization than at intermediate or long-term time points. The need for criminal justice advocacy services also may decrease over time because not all victims who seek services report their victimization to police. In 2015, less than half of violent victimizations (47 percent; e.g., sexual assault, domestic violence, assault) were reported to the police.[18]

A subset of victims who need civil legal assistance in the immediate phase will have expanded legal needs at later points. According to data collected through InfoNet, Illinois’ statewide victim data collection system, in 2016, 35 percent of domestic violence victims who sought services through a provider were either married or legally separated from their partners. Some of these victims may need civil legal assistance for family law matters related to separation or divorce. Additionally, according to ICJIA’s victim service provider survey, the need for assistance applying for victim compensation increased from 4 percent in the immediate phase to 15 percent in the intermediate phase, an increase of more than 300%. The need for assistance in applying for victim compensation likely increases as over time threats to a victim’s immediate safety are reduced, enabling them to refocus their attention toward other needs and seek financial assistance to recover from the crime.

Legal services is an unmet need among crime victims in Illinois. In 2016, ICJIA contracted with Aeffect, Inc., to conduct a statewide victimization survey of victims and their family members.[19] Survey data showed the number of violent crime victims who received legal services (i.e., civil legal assistance, criminal justice advocacy, and victim compensation) was lower than the number of victims who needed those services. The largest unmet legal service need among violent crime victims was help applying for victim compensation (70 percent of victims who needed this service did not receive it), followed by criminal justice system advocacy (67 percent), and civil legal assistance (38 percent) (Figure 2).[20]

Figure 2. Unmet Need of Violent Crime Victims


Violent crime victims are not the only victims whose needs for legal services are unmet. A study conducted in Cook County demonstrated legal services as an unmet need among both violent and non-violent crime victims. More than half of victims surveyed (55 percent) in Cook County who needed legal support (i.e., help from a lawyer, online legal aid, or self-help kiosk) received the service.[21] Similarly, 49 percent of victims needing legal advocacy (e.g., court accompaniment and legal process navigation) or help with orders of protection (53 percent) received this type of assistance from providers.[22]

The enforcement of victim rights is important for victims’ emotional well-being. Victims often experience secondary victimization during the legal process. Secondary victimization occurs when victims are blamed for their victimization and judged rather than supported, causing further trauma.[23] Victims report feeling depressed, violated, and less likely to seek additional support as a result of negative interactions with the legal system.[24] Victims also may experience additional distress when they elect to exercise their rights only to have those rights denied.[25] Victim rights enforcement may be able to attenuate secondary victimization experiences[26] and negative mental health outcomes. Victims who are afforded the opportunity to have a more active role in the legal process have better mental health outcomes than victims who are prevented from doing so, likely due to the sense of empowerment and inclusion they feel.[27]

Furthermore, victim rights enforcement is a pressing legal need as it helps to ensure that victims who choose to exercise their rights are able to do so. Research indicates that crime victim rights legislation does not guarantee legal protection. In a study examining crime victim rights legislation across different states, half of victims from states with strong victim rights legislation were not informed of sentencing hearings and were no more likely to be informed of plea negotiations than victims in states with weak legislation.[28] Victim rights attorneys can protect privacy rights in instances where counseling and other medical records are requested by the court[29] and can help enforce the right to be present throughout court proceedings.[30]

Needs by Crime Type

Legal service needs vary by crime type; different forms of victimization may necessitate a variety of legal remedies to ensure that a victim’s unique safety needs are met.

Domestic violence. Victims of domestic violence need legal services, such as help with obtaining an order of protection. InfoNet showed in 2016, more than half of adult domestic violence clients (56 percent) identified legal advocacy as a need during intake. Agencies provided 62 percent of adult clients with legal advocacy services.[31] In comparison, while nearly 14 percent of clients reported needing the services of an attorney, fewer than 8 percent received those services. These findings suggest that while providers are able to meet the need for advocacy services, they may not have the capacity to meet the need for legal services provided by an attorney.

Domestic violence victims also need longer term legal services. In a study of domestic violence victims in the Chicago metropolitan area victims reported needing assistance with immigration (49 percent), divorce (48 percent), and child custody (33 percent) even after seeking services from victim service providers.[32] These court processes can be lengthy, creating a persistent need for legal services. Other victims had legal needs that emerged after they received services from providers, including the need for help with their credit history (40 percent), visitation (40 percent), and child custody (29 percent).[33]

Domestic violence victims need legal services for employment and housing protections. Violence perpetrated by an intimate partner is related to negative physical and mental health outcomes, including physical injuries and depression.[34] As a result, victims may need time to recover before returning to work. Under the Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA), domestic violence victims are permitted 12 weeks of unpaid leave following a victimization.[35] In October 2017 the City of Chicago committed to providing city employees eligible for VESSA with up to one month of paid leave.[36] Additionally, personal safety is a major concern for domestic violence victims as the majority of victimization occurs in or around the home.[37] In a nationally representative study of victimization from 2005 to 2010, victims reported that the majority (77 percent) of domestic violence offenses occurred at or near their home. The Safe Homes Act allows domestic violence victims to break their leases or change their locks[38] to help regain a sense of safety. Legal advocates and attorneys work with victims to ensure landlords and employers are abiding by these laws.

Specific legal remedies also exist for immigrant victims of domestic violence. Under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), battered immigrants can petition the court for permanent residency for themselves and their children and suspend deportation proceedings without the offender’s cooperation.[39] This protection applies to victims who are married to U.S. citizens or permanent residents.[40] The Battered Spouse Waiver permits immigrants with conditional residency to have this status changed to permanent when their conditional residency is linked to an abusive spouse or parent.[41] Victims of domestic violence who are ineligible for protection under VAWA or the Battered Spouse Waiver may be granted a U Visa, which provides victims with a legal immigration status and the ability to seek employment.[42] These legal remedies give some relief to victims whose only other choices are living in an abusive environment and deportation.

Sexual assault. Victims of sexual assault also benefit from certain existing legal remedies. For instance, sexual assault victims can file for a civil no contact order against the perpetrator,[43] who in three-quarters of sexual assaults is known to the victim (i.e., intimate partner, relative, acquaintance).[44] Civil no contact orders can also be extended to the victim’s family or household members and the victim’s property and pets.[45] In 2016, 140 civil no contact orders and 361 orders of protection were filed by victims seeking services from sexual assault service providers in Illinois using InfoNet.

Victims also may request that their right to privacy be upheld during legal proceedings. Victim rights attorneys may be able to file for a writ of mandamus/prohibition to have the victim’s name redacted or pseudonym used in official records,[46] or motion to quash a subpoena for victim records, if necessary, to safeguard that right to privacy.[47] Research suggests confidentiality concerns may negatively impact a victim’s decision to report a sexual assault to the police.[48] Assurances that a victim’s right to privacy will be enforced by an attorney may help increase victim reporting and service seeking.

Victims of sexual assault also may seek services from a legal advocate or attorney for employment and housing protections guaranteed under VESSA and the Safe Homes Act. Shortly following sexual assault, victims experience shock, fear, anxiety, confusion, and withdrawal.[49] VESSA protects victims’ employment as they recover from the immediate impact of sexual assault. Female sexual assault victims are more likely to be victimized at or near their home than in any other location,[50] making the Safe Homes Act pertinent to this population. Immigrant victims of sexual assault, irrespective of immigration status, also are eligible for immigration relief under the provisions of a U Visa.[51] As with domestic violence, this relief includes a legal immigration visa and work authorization.[52]

Elderly populations. According to the Illinois Department on Aging (IDOA), adults aged 60 and older most often experience financial exploitation, with this form of elder abuse accounting for 54 percent of all elder abuse reports to IDOA in 2015.[53] Financial exploitation takes on many different forms, but may include identity theft, fraud (e.g., mortgage rescue fraud, prize notification fraud, and charity scams), and financial mistreatment (e.g., stealing or selling money or property and forgery).[54] Legal advocates and attorneys assist financially exploited victims by helping them report the crime to police, creditors, and credit bureaus, obtain documentation, file disputes, and work with creditors and collection agencies to resolve financial issues.[55]

Human trafficking. Data on the number of human trafficking victims in Illinois is limited and information on this population of victims’ service utilization of any type is not systematically tracked. Without data, discerning victim needs, especially legal needs unique to this population, becomes difficult.

An analysis of prostitution-related offenses in Illinois suggests that if fraud, coercion, or force is used against an individual that individual is likely a trafficking victim.[56] Police distrust and ties to their trafficker cause many victims to withhold their trafficked status from law enforcement.[57] Officers also fail to identify many trafficking victims. State and federal laws can provide Illinois human trafficking victims with legal relief. Under the Illinois Justice for Victims of Sex Trafficking Act, sex trafficking victims can ask a judge to vacate trafficking-related prostitution convictions.[58]

The federal Trafficking and Violence Protection Act was passed in 2000.[59] The act enabled trafficking victims to apply for a T Visa and to remain and work in the United States while the case against their trafficker progresses through the court system, and to receive certain benefits, such as food stamps, housing, and medical assistance.[60] In calls to the National Human Trafficking Hotline 44 percent of trafficking victims who disclosed citizenship identified as foreign nationals.[61] T Visas provide immigration relief to trafficking victims who do not have U.S. citizenship.[62]

Homicide survivors. A homicide survivor refers to anyone who has lost a loved one to homicide and may include spouses or partners, children, siblings, other family members, and friends.[63] While information on the legal needs of homicide survivors is limited research highlights the importance of legal advocacy services. Homicide survivors expressed the need to for information from prosecutors and law enforcement throughout the legal process.[64] Legal advocates can help to facilitate information exchange.

Some legal protections are afforded to homicide survivors in Illinois, but laws limit who may seek legal redress as a homicide survivor. The Rights of Crime Victims and Witnesses Act extends victim rights, such as the right to privacy and the right be present at court proceedings, to the parents or guardians of a homicide victim under the age of 18.[65] For adult victims of homicide, Illinois affords victim rights to two victim representatives. [66] A victim representative may be the spouse, parent, child, sibling, or person in charge of the victim’s estate.[67]

Homicide survivors often face additional expenses as a result of the victimization, such as funeral and burial costs, medical bills, and mental health treatment costs.[68] Homicide survivors are eligible to apply for victim compensation. The spouse, parent, or sibling of a homicide victim is eligible for compensation through the Illinois Crime Victims Compensation Act, but for siblings this reimbursement is limited to mental health treatment. [69]

Homicide survivors often experience depression and PTSD,[70] which may negatively impact a person’s ability to work. Research also indicates that the grieving process for homicide survivors is unique as family members must cope with their grief as well as the traumatic impact of the homicide itself.[71] Currently, no federal legislation exists that allows homicide survivors to take extended leave from work to recover from the trauma of losing a loved one to homicide. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 permits employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for family and medical matters, such as for the birth or adoption of a child or to recover from serious health problems,[72] but not the death of a child. Illinois’ Child Bereavement Leave Act allows employees to take two weeks of unpaid leave after the loss of a child.[73]


In focus groups conducted with victim service providers throughout the state, ICJIA identified barriers to the delivery of legal services. These barriers include transportation, language, and the capacity and structure of victim service and legal aid agencies.

Transportation. Victim service providers find that a lack of transportation options impedes a victim’s ability to receive legal advocacy or legal services from a provider and to attend court proceedings. Victims encounter two transportation-related barriers: financial resources and the reliability of public transit. Some victims do not have the financial resources to pay for transportation. Providers want to offer victims bus cards or other forms of transportation assistance, but do not have funding to meet this need. Other victims do not have access to convenient or reliable public transportation. A Cook County services provider said “[victims] have to take three or four buses and still catch a cab” to get to court.

Language. Language is a notable barrier among non-English or non-native-English speaking victims seeking legal services. Victim service providers expressed frustration with the process of obtaining court-based translation services. In some instances, victims and legal providers reported having to wait 72 hours or more for an interpreter if the language requested is less commonly spoken, even when an emergency order of protection is being sought. A victim service provider from the Collar counties described how translation services are needed outside court proceedings, such as in helping a victim complete paperwork to obtain a protection order, but are not available through the court. A lack of translation services also may prevent victims from applying for victim compensation.

Agency Capacity. Legal aid providers serving victims in Illinois do not currently have sufficient staffing to provide legal assistance beyond crisis-based legal services. Victim service providers reported many legal providers do not have the time and staff resources to commit to complex legal cases involving lengthy divorces, child custody, or child or spousal support cases. Agency capacity can also be a barrier for trafficking victims as the estimated amount of time to obtain a T Visa is six months to one year.[74] Legal providers have to think strategically about the types of cases they take on so that they can balance the immediate needs of the largest number of victims possible.

Furthermore, not all legal aid agencies have the expertise to handle complex or unique legal situations, such as those related to immigration. Many refer victims with specialized legal service needs to providers in larger metropolitan areas.

Eligibility. Legal aid providers often prioritize services to victims with the greatest need based on income. Many times, this results in legal aid offices in Illinois imposing income limits. A Collar county provider explained that some legal providers will only provide services to domestic violence victims whose income is less than 250% of the poverty level, which for 2017 is $16,240 for a family of two and $24,600 for a family of four.[75] In addition, said one provider, legal aid providers sometimes take into account marital assets which can put victims at a disadvantage: “Your income is being looked at as though you are somehow…sharing 50/50 in the marital assets, but you don’t know what bank your money is in and your name isn’t on any of the [documentation].”

Hours of Operation. A review of the intake procedures of several Illinois legal aid providers revealed that intake is conducted during traditional business hours (i.e., Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). As a result, victims have a narrow window of time in which to make initial contact with a provider for legal services. These hours pose a barrier to victims who work or have other commitments that take precedence during the week.


Comprehensive legal services for victims of crime emerged as a persistent need in the statewide victimization survey, in focus groups with victim service providers, and through victim service data collected from domestic violence and sexual assault service providers. Legal aid and victim service providers are working to meet victims’ legal needs. However, additional steps can be taken to improve access to and utilization of legal advocacy and legal services.

Funding. Legal aid providers need support from both public and private funders to provide comprehensive and accessible legal services. With limited resources, victim service providers have primarily focused on meeting immediate legal needs. Without adequate funding, victim service providers cannot address intermediate and long-term legal needs, including the enforcement of victim rights. Resources also are needed to support services intended to address accompanying needs, such as transportation assistance and translation services, particularly for underserved populations.

Expansion of legal services. Increased funding will support services expansion to meet longer term legal needs of victims, such as aid in filing for divorce, child custody, financial support, immigration relief, and power of attorney. Legal assistance for these longer-term legal needs can help to facilitate victim recovery and healing. In fact, research has shown that expanded civil legal services beyond orders of protection is related to lower risk for revictimization and improved financial independence for domestic violence victims.[76] Without this legal support, domestic violence victims may find it difficult to break away from abusers if they are married or have children. Foreign-born trafficking victims may fear deportation without immigration relief. Financially exploited elders may be experiencing victimization at the hands of the person holding power of attorney over them. These victims have complex legal needs that require an expansion of the types of legal services currently offered and greater funding support will allow legal aid agencies to dedicate time to these more complex cases.

Victim rights enforcement. Victims have rights as crime victims, but those rights only serve the interests of victims if they can be effectively enforced. The area of victim rights enforcement is relatively new, requiring capacity-building among legal aid providers. Trainings and capacity-building within legal aid agencies can increase knowledge in this area. Over time, a collaborative approach to information sharing efforts could help build statewide capacity for victim rights enforcement.

Complementary legal advocacy-attorney services. Legal services and advocacy can be paired to provide a more holistic and complete approach to legal help for victims. Legal advocates fill a vital role by providing legal support to victims for less complex issues, such as helping victims apply for victim compensation or file for an order of protection, in addition to support regarding access to services, such as translation and transportation assistance. Attorneys can engage in those tasks as well; however, victims need attorneys to focus on more complex needs requiring legal expertise and representation. Together legal advocates and attorneys can provide quality services that optimize time and resources while taking a victim-centric approach to service provision.

Low barrier intake. Household income, marital assets, or citizenship status can be barriers to service access and delivery. Organizational policies should encourage providers to examine the nature of the victimization when determining eligibility, including victim-offender relationship, which can impact a victim’s access to income and assets, before determining eligibility. Providers who may not have the internal capacity or expertise to meet the legal needs of a victim due to citizenship status or other unique circumstances should consider how the referral process can be streamlined to minimize the potential for secondary victimization and prevent service disengagement.

Additionally, legal providers may want to think about how to improve access using different contact methods, such as offering a toll-free number for help over the phone, or help via email, text, or a user-friendly website, for both the intake process and legal counseling. One northern Illinois legal aid provider reported using online communication methods, including social media and instant messaging, to increase victim access. Furthermore, offering multiple contact methods may improve service utilization by underserved populations, particularly older adults. Research suggests that older adults may be more comfortable contacting a provider by phone, whereas younger victims might prefer texting or online chat programs. In a study of U.S. adults’ Internet usage 41 percent of individuals 65 and older reported they never use the Internet compared to only 1 percent of 18 to 29 year olds.[77] In addition, a study of cell phone usage found older individuals (ages 50-68) preferred to contact friends and intimate partners via phone than text or email, than all other younger age groups surveyed.[78]

Transportation assistance. Victims need reliable transportation in order to obtain, engage in, and benefit from legal services. Transportation is needed to meet with legal advocates or attorneys as well as attend court proceedings. For victims with limited financial resources, legal aid providers may be able to ease some of this burden by earmarking money, when funding is available, for the transportation of clients as part of their operating budget. This type of assistance could take the form of bus passes or cab fares. However, for victims who live in more remote parts of the state where public transportation is limited, providers may want to consider other ways in which this need could be addressed. Some providers serving rural communities described using a transportation partner or locating a space in the client’s community where services could be provided.

Translation services. Victims who are non-English or non-native English speakers need readily available translation services in order to access and receive legal services. Unfortunately, legal advocates and attorneys cannot rely upon the court system to provide an interpreter. Much like transportation assistance, providers should consider how they can incorporate the cost of translation services in their budgets. Furthermore, it is also important to strategize around how to best provide translation services for a range of different languages. Forming provider partnerships to pool translation resources is one idea. Contracting with a third party to provide translation as needed might also be an option.


Illinois victims and victim service providers indicated a need for legal services, and for many victims in the state, the need is unmet. Crime victims need access to comprehensive legal services, including legal advocacy services, civil legal services, and victim rights enforcement. The availability of legal services helps to ensure a victim’s safety during periods of immediate crisis as well as during lengthy and delayed legal processes. Numerous legal avenues are open to victims of crime, and legal advocates and attorneys are well-positioned to assist victims as they engage either the criminal justice or civil legal systems. Legal providers can implement changes with the support of funders and policymakers to help providers navigate barriers to service provision and offer more comprehensive legal services throughout the state. Legal service providers can work to expand their service delivery model to include more complex or underutilized legal remedies requiring expertise in family law, victim rights enforcement, and financial exploitation, among others. They also can strengthen eligibility policies to minimize barriers at intake and seek grant opportunities for transportation assistance and translation services to reach more underserved populations.

  1. Hartley, C. C., & Renner, L. M. (2016). The Longer-Term Influence of Civil Legal Services on Battered Women. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice. Retrieved from ↩︎
  2. Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Illinois Department of Human Services. (2016). Illinois Domestic Violence Services Guidelines Manual. Retrieved from and ↩︎
  3. Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault (2017). Advocacy Services: A Guide to How Rape Crisis Center Advocates Help Victims Through the Medical and Criminal Justice System After Sexual Assault. Retrieved from ↩︎
  4. See Hartley & Renner (2016). ↩︎
  5. Ibid. ↩︎
  6. Sheeran, M., & Meyer, E. (2010). Civil Protection Orders: A Guide for Improving Practice. Reno, NV: National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. Retrieved from ↩︎
  7. Battered Women’s Justice Project. (n.d.). Assisting Immigrant Victims of Domestic Violence: Advocates’ Guide. Retrieved from ↩︎
  8. For the complete Rights of Crime Victims and Witnesses Act see ↩︎
  9. National Crime Victim Law Institute. (n.d.a). Illinois Victims’ Rights Laws. Retrieved from ↩︎
  10. National Crime Victim Law Institute. (2013). Use of Pseudonym to Protect to Protect the Victim’s Identity in a Criminal Case: The Process. Retrieved from ↩︎
  11. National Crime Victim Law Institute. (n.d.b). Responding to Third Party Subpoenas Seeking a Crime Victim’s Records in a Criminal Case. Retrieved from ↩︎
  12. National Crime Victim Law Institute. (2014). Sample Cases: Securing Testimonial Accommodations for Crime Victims and Non-Victim Witnesses. Retrieved from ↩︎
  13. National Crime Victim Law Institute. (n.d.c). Right to be Heard at Sentencing. Retrieved from ↩︎
  14. The complete report is available here: ↩︎
  15. Definition used by InfoNet, repository of victim service data in Illinois. ↩︎
  16. See Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Illinois Department of Human Services. (2016). ↩︎
  17. Office of the Illinois Attorney General. (n.d.). Crime Victim Compensation: Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved from ↩︎
  18. Truman, J. L., & Morgan, R. E. (2016). Criminal Victimization, 2015. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice.Retrieved from ↩︎
  19. Aeffect, Inc. (2017). 2016 Victim Needs Assessment. Chicago, IL: Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. Retrieved from ↩︎
  20. Data drawn from Aeffect’s victim needs assessment did not distinguish between participants who had directly experienced a victimization or participants who reported that a household members had been victimized. Numbers presented her reflect the needs of victims as reported by victims themselves or by members of their household. ↩︎
  21. Interdisciplinary Center for Research on Violence. (n.d.). Needs assessment results: A comprehensive report of survey responses from the Metropolitan Family Services Legal Aid Society needs assessment stakeholder survey, client survey, client focus groups, and client interviews. Metropolitan Family Services Victim Legal Assistance Network. ↩︎
  22. Ibid. ↩︎
  23. Campbell, R., & Raja, S. (1999). Secondary victimization of rape victims: Insights from mental health professionals who treat survivors of violence. Violence and Victims, 14(3), 261-275. ↩︎
  24. Campbell, R. (2008). The psychological impact of rape victims’ experiences with the legal, medical, and mental health systems. American Psychologist, 63(8), 702-717. ↩︎
  25. National Crime Victim Law Institute. (2013). Polyvictims: Victims’ rights enforcement as a tool to mitigate “secondary victimization” in the criminal justice system. Victim Law Bulletin. Retrieved from ↩︎
  26. Ibid. ↩︎
  27. Herman, J. L. (2003). The mental health of crime victims: Impact of legal intervention. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 16(2), 159-166. ↩︎
  28. Kilpatrick, D. G., Beatty, D., & Howley, S. S. (1998). The Rights of Crime Victims-Does Legal Protection Make a Difference? Washington D. C.: U.S. Department of Justice. ↩︎
  29. Murphy, W. J. (2001). The victim advocacy and research group: Serving a growing need to provide rape victims with personal legal representation to protect privacy rights and to fight gender bias in the criminal justice system. Journal of Social Distress and Homeless, 11(1), 123-138. ↩︎
  30. Turner, R. (2015). Examination of victim rights: Ensuring safety and participation in the courts. Montana Lawyer, 40(9), 18-19, 26-27. ↩︎
  31. The percentage of victims who received legal advocacy is greater than the number who expressed this need at intake. Intake only captures victim need at one time point. New needs may emerge over time and providers may offer additional services to victims to meet those needs. ↩︎
  32. Riger, S., George, C. G., Byrnes, B., Durst-Lee, L, & Sigurvisndottir, R. (2016). Domestic violence outcomes measures project. Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network. Retrieved from ↩︎
  33. Ibid. ↩︎
  34. Coker, A. L., Davis, K. E., Arias, I., Desai, S., Sanderson, M., Brandt, H. M., Smith, P. H. (2002). Physical and mental effects of intimate partner violence for men and women. American Journal of Preventative Medicine, 24(4), 260-268. ↩︎
  35. Illinois Department of Labor. (n.d.). Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act. Retrieved from ↩︎
  36. ity of Chicago. (2017). Mayor Emanuel, Alderman O’Shea introduce ordinance strengthening the city’s support of employees affected by domestic violence and sexual assault [Press release]. Retrieved from ↩︎
  37. Truman, J. L., & Morgan, R. E. (2014). Nonfatal Domestic Violence, 2003-2012. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice. Retrieved from ↩︎
  38. Shriver Center. (n.d.). Housing Rights for Victims of Domestic Violence & Sexual Violence. Retrieved from ↩︎
  39. Battered Women’s Justice Project. (n.d.). Assisting Immigrant Victims of Domestic Violence: Advocates’ Guide. Retrieved from ↩︎
  40. National Immigrant Family Violence Center. (n.d.). Immigration Relief for Battered Immigrants. Retrieved from ↩︎
  41. See Battered Women’s Justice Project (n.d.). ↩︎
  42. Ibid. ↩︎
  43. Illinois Attorney General. (2016). How Illinois Can Protect You From Stalking: Illinois Orders of Protection and No Contact Orders. Retrieved from ↩︎
  44. Planty, M., Langton, L., Krebs, C., Berzovsky, M., & Smiley-McDonald, H. (2013). Female Victims of Sexual Violence, 1994-2010. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice. Retrieved from ↩︎
  45. Ibid. ↩︎
  46. See National Crime Victim Law Institute. (2013). ↩︎
  47. National Crime Victim Law Institute. (n.d.b). ↩︎
  48. Sable, M. R., Danis, F., Mauzy, D. L., & Gallagher, S. K. (2006). Barriers to reporting sexual assault for women and men: Perspectives of college students. Journal of American College Health, 55(3), 157-162. ↩︎
  49. Yuan, N. P., Koss, M. P., & Stone, M. (2016). The psychological consequences of sexual trauma. National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women. Retrieved from ↩︎
  50. See Planty et al. (2013). ↩︎
  51. See Battered Women’s Justice Project. (n.d.). ↩︎
  52. Ibid. ↩︎
  53. Illinois Department on Aging (n.d.). Adult Protective Services, Fiscal Year 2015, Annual Report Data. ↩︎
  54. Holtfreter, K., Reisig, M. D., Mears, D. P., & Wolf, S. E. (2014). Financial Exploitation of the Elderly in a Consumer Context. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice. Retrieved from ↩︎
  55. Office of Victims of Crime (n.d.a). Victim Assistance: Lessons from the Field. Retrieved from ↩︎
  56. Reichert, J. (2013). Anti-trafficking Laws and Arrest Trends in Illinois. Chicago, IL: Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. Retrieved from ↩︎
  57. Ibid. ↩︎
  58. Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (n.d.). Legal Services. Retrieved from ↩︎
  59. U.S. Department of State. (2000). Victims of Trafficking Protection Act of 2000. Retrieved from ↩︎
  60. New York Anti-Trafficking Initiative (2009). Human Trafficking Forum. Retrieved from ↩︎
  61. Polaris. (n.d.). More Assistance. More Action: 2016 Statistics from the National Human Trafficking Hotline and BeFree Textline. Retrieved from ↩︎
  62. Ibid. ↩︎
  63. Office for Victims of Crime (n.d.b). Homicide Survivors/Co-Victims. Retrieved from ↩︎
  64. Ibid. ↩︎
  65. See Rights of Crime Victims and Witnesses Act. ↩︎
  66. Ibid. ↩︎
  67. Ibid. ↩︎
  68. See Office for Victims of Crime. (n.d.b) ↩︎
  69. Office of the Illinois Attorney General. (n.d.). Crime Victim Compensation: Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved from ↩︎
  70. Zinzow, H. Rheingold, A. A., Hawkins, A., Saunders, B. E., & Kilpatrick, D. G. (2009). Losing a loved one to homicide: Prevalence and mental health correlates in a national sample of young adults. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 22(1), 20-27. ↩︎
  71. See Office for Victims of Crime. (n.d.b) ↩︎
  72. U.S. Department of Justice. (2012). Fact Sheet #28: The Family and Medical Leave Act. Retrieved from ↩︎
  73. For the complete Child Bereavement Leave Act see ↩︎
  74. See New York Anti-Trafficking Initiative (2009). ↩︎
  75. See ↩︎
  76. See Hartley & Renner (2016). ↩︎
  77. Anderson, M., & Perrin, A. (2016). 13% of Americans don’t use the Internet: Who are they? Pew Research Center. Retrieved from ↩︎
  78. Forgays, D. K., Hyman, I., & Schreiber, J. (2014). Texting everywhere for everything: Gender and age differences in cell phone etiquette and use. Computers in Human Behavior, 31(1), 314-321. ↩︎