What are My Rights as a Survivor of Domestic Violence?

What are My Rights as a Survivor of Domestic Violence?


You may take unpaid time off work to deal with matters relating to domestic violence, sexual assault, or gender violence. You may be able to get unemployment benefits if you had to quit your job due to abuse.

Personal safety:

You may be eligible for a protective order. A protective order can help keep you and your household members safe. There are three common orders that may be helpful depending on your situation

  1. Civil No Contact Order (sexual assault);
  2. Order of Protection (domestic violence); and
  3. Stalking No Contact Order (stalking).

Financial abuse:

Domestic violence can happen in many ways, including economic abuse. You may put a fraud alert or dispute accounts on your credit report if your abuser is taking out debts in your name. If you are married and the mortgage is in your abuser’s name, you may still have property rights.

Public benefits:

You may be eligible for TANF Crisis Assistance (expedited SNAP benefits). You may also qualify for childcare assistance if you have a child under the age of 13. There are domestic violence exceptions to the 60-month limit on TANF benefits. If you do this, you do not have to give the identity of your child’s father.

Accessing a medical facility:

Victims of sexual assault have the right to access a hospital or medical facility. You may ask for medical forensic services for injuries, emergency contraceptives, and a rape crisis counselor. You will receive tracking information from hospital staff or an officer. It will tell you the location and completion date of the test.

If you are 13 years or older, you can consent to medical forensic services after a sexual assault. You can then release the information for testing. This means the information will be accessible during a criminal investigation. 

If you are under 13 years, you will be able to consent to a medical evaluation following an assault. However, a parent, guardian, officer, or provider from the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) services will have to sign off on releasing it for testing.

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