Illinois Victims Rights    

Illinois Victims Rights

In Illinois, crime victims have certain rights. This includes the right to:
  • Be treated fairly and with respect
  • Be notified of all court proceedings
  • Make a statement to the court during the sentencing phase of the trial
  • To communicate with the prosecution
  • Have specific information in regards to conviction, sentence, imprisonment, and release of the accused
  • Be protected (within reason) from the accused during the trial
  • Have a timely disposition
  • Be at trial or other court proceedings as much as the accused (although there are specific testimony situations that don'\t allow for this)
  • Have an advocate present for you at all court proceedings according to court rules
  • In Illinois, the General Assembly can provide by law for the enforcement of this Section.
  • In Illinois, the convicted defendant can be required to pay for crime victims rights as provided by the General Assembly.
  • Vacating a conviction or creating the basis for an appeal cannot be done using anything in this Section or by any law enacted under this Section.

As part of the Illinois Victims Rights, the Illinois Victims Economic Security and Safety Act was enacted. This provides the following:
  • to address the failure of existing laws to protect the employment rights of employees who are victims of domestic or sexual violence and employees with a family or household member who is a victim of domestic or sexual violence, by protecting the civil and economic rights of those employees, and by furthering the equal opportunity of women for economic self-sufficiency and employment free from discrimination;
  • to promote the State's interest in reducing domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking by enabling victims of domestic or sexual violence to maintain the financial independence necessary to leave abusive situations, achieve safety, and minimize the physical and emotional injuries from domestic or sexual violence, and to reduce the devastating economic consequences of domestic or sexual violence to employers and employees;
  • to accomplish the purposes described in paragraphs (1) and (2) by entitling employed victims of domestic or sexual violence to take unpaid leave to seek medical help, legal assistance, counseling, safety planning, and other assistance without penalty from their employers.

The Illinois Victims Economic Security and Safety Act allows for employers (defined as the State or any agency of the State; any unit of local government or school district; or any person that employs at least 50 employees) may not discharge or discriminate against an employee who is a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault who has a family or household member who is a victim, for taking up to a total of 12 workweeks of leave from work during any 12-month period to address these issues.

This Act prohibits employers from discharging, discriminating, or retaliating against a person taking leave from work as a result of domestic violence or sexual assault to: seek medical attention or counseling for injuries or psychological trauma, obtain victim services, relocate, seek legal assistance or participate in a related court proceeding.

The employer may require the employee to provide certification to the employer. The employer is not required to provide paid leave under this Act, but may not suspend group health plan benefits during the leave period.

Financial Reimbursment

When a crime is committed against an individual and the perpetrator is arrested, prosecuted and found guilty of the crime, the court may order the defendant to pay restitution as a part of his sentence.

Restitution is a form of reimbursement for victims of criminal cases for actual out-of-pocket expenses, losses, damages, and injuries suffered by the victim(s) as a result of the defendant's criminal conduct. Restitution does not cover any punitive damages.

If you feel you are owed restitution through a criminal case that you are involved with, you must inform the Police Department that assisted you or the State Attorney prior to the cases completion. In order to receive your restitution, keep all copies of any bills, receipts, insurance documentation, and estimates relating to the actual out-of-pocket expenses, losses, damages, and injuries you have incurred as a result of the crime. You may be required to make this information available to the court for review.

Restitution is not a guarantee. If a defendant is found not guilty, you may have to pursue restitution through civil litigation. If a defendant is found guilty but refuses to pay restitution or is unable to comply with restitution, the State Attorney will attempt enforcement procedures against the defendant. However, a defendant may be allowed to satisfy restitution through other forms of sentencing options. These sentencing options are at the discretion of the court.

The Crime Victim Compensation Act was established by the Illinois General Assembly in 1973 with the primary goal of helping to reduce the financial burden imposed on victims of violent crime and their families. The Illinois Crime Victim Compensation Program can provide innocent victims and their families with up to $27,000 in financial assistance for expenses accrued as a result of a violent crime.

Who is a crime Victim?

  • a person injured in Illinois as a result of a violent crime
  • a survivor of a victim who was dependent on the victim for support
  • a parent whose child is the victim of a violent crime
  • a relative of a victim who incurred funeral and/or medical expenses
  • a person under 18 who is the sibling or child of a person killed or injured
  • a person who witnessed a violent crime (counseling expenses only)

What are the violent crimes referred to in this Act?

  • Murder (1st and 2nd degree)
  • Involuntary Manslaughter
  • Reckless Homicide
  • Kidnapping and Aggrevated Kidnapping
  • Battery and Aggrevated Battery
  • Assault and Aggrevated Assault
  • Heinous Battery
  • Sexual Relations with Families
  • Criminal Sexual Assault
  • Criminal Sexual Abuse
  • Exploitation of a Child
  • Stalking
  • Domestic Battery
  • Reckless Conduct
  • Driving Under the Influence
  • Arson

What expenses might be covered?

  • medical and hospital expenses including prescriptions, doctor visits and dental work
  • Funeral and burial up to $5,000
  • Counseling by licensed or certified professionals
  • Loss of earnings up to $1,000 per month. This is based on your net earnings for the six months prior to the incident. You will be required to show proof of your earnings and injury (like a letter from your doctor and/or counselor). Loss of earnings includes days missed from work to attend court hearings and for doctor and counseling appointments.
  • Prosthetic devices
  • Wheel chairs and some accessibility expenses (like ramps, hand rails, etc.)
  • Eye glasses and hearing aids
  • Crime scene cleanup
  • Replacement costs for clothing/bedding used as evidence (save your receipts!)
  • Replacement costs for locks/windows damaged during the crime (save your receipts!)
  • Temporary lodging and relocation costs including moving van rental, moving company fees, storage fees, shipping fees, and security deposits.
  • Travel and transport for survivors and transport of the body

Applicants for Crime Victim Compensation must first exhaust other reasonable remedies including health insurance, medicare, workers compensation, etc. The crime in question must have been reported to authorities within 72 hours (there are exceptions) and victims must cooperate with authorities working on the case. Applications must be filed within two years from the date of the crime