Governor Quinn Signs Law to Protect Survivors of Domestic Violence
CHICAGO - Governor Quinn today signed legislation to protect survivors of domestic violence. "Diane's Law" allows the courts to order risk assessment and electronic surveillance of those charged with domestic abuse in order to increase protections for victims of domestic violence. Today's action is part of the Governor's agenda to improve public safety across Illinois.
"We need to help protect victims and prevent future tragedies from occurring," Governor Quinn said. "The tragic loss of Diane Kephart's purposeful life left us with further proof that something had to be done to strengthen protection orders. Diane's Law will help our law enforcement authorities enforce restraining orders and increase penalties for those who commit domestic violence."
Diane's Law was written following the murder of Diane Kephart by a former boyfriend on March 15, 2013. Diane was murdered three days after renewing her protective order against an ex-boyfriend.
"I think of mom every day and wonder how much different life could have been if this bill was around a year and a half ago," Jamie Kephart, daughter of Diane Kephart, said. "I pray that it helps protect victims affected by domestic violence the way it is intended to do. I am so grateful the community recognized the necessity for Diane's Law."
House Bill 3744, sponsored by State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) and State Senator Pamela Althoff (R-McHenry), allows the court to order individuals charged with intimate partner abuse including domestic battery, kidnapping, stalking, harassment and attempted murder to undergo a risk assessment evaluation as a condition of bail. The court may also require GPS monitoring of the defendant to help monitor and enforce restraining orders. The new law is effective Jan. 1, 2015.
"In the case of Diane Kephart a protective order was not enough to prevent the tragedy that unfolded," Senator Althoff said. "This law goes beyond an order of protection and focuses on prevention by ensuring that a person charged with violent crimes is properly monitored by law enforcement."
Governor Quinn has supported and signed numerous initiatives to address domestic violence and protect its victims. He signed several laws in 2013 to address domestic violence and teen dating violence in Illinois, including: House Bill 958, which increases the penalties for domestic violence by classifying domestic violence as a felony if the defendant has a prior domestic violence conviction; House Bill 3379, which requires school boards to adopt a policy on teen dating violence; and House Bill 3300, which protects domestic violence victims who are covered by their abusers' insurance policies. The law allows insurance companies to communicate with the victims in ways that do not divulge personal information or current addresses to their abusers.
The Governor also signed legislation in 2012 to allow prosecutors to use prior domestic violence offenses as evidence in first- and second-degree murder cases involving domestic violence. He has supported initiatives and laws that prevent discrimination against individuals taking out orders of protection and providing time off from work for victims to help them address issues relating to domestic violence.