The Illinois House and Senate started a new session last week with the introduction of over 1000 bills. Here are a few bills that will impact survivors of domestic abuse:
Guardians ad Litem (GALs) – HB 795 would require that GALs complete 40 hours of domestic violence training. GALs are attorneys appointed by family law court to investigate issues regarding custody or visitation. This is a positive change because GALs will be specifically trained in the dynamics of domestic violence and would provide better informed recommendations to the courts.
Maintenance Exception – HB 861 would change the law so that survivors of domestic violence will not be required to pay their abusers maintenance (alimony) if there is an Order of Protection between the parties. Some SHALVA clients have been ordered by the courts to pay maintenance to their abusers, so this legislation would impact them directly.
Education and Prevention – The REACH Act (HB 1736) makes changes to the School Code to include curriculum on domestic violence and healthy relationships in an age-appropriate manner. Parents can opt out of the curriculum for their children. SHALVA offers many education and prevention programs that focus on building healthy relationships. Schedule a program for your office, friends or synagogue community here.
Join SHALVA in advocating for solutions that will improve the legal process for survivors. Reach out to your legislators and ask them to support this legislation, particularly if your legislator has signed on as a co-sponsor. Find your representative here.