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               As humans, we were not meant to be socially isolated. Social isolation is believed to elevate our stress levels and it can lead us to have feelings of loneliness, fear of others, or even negative self-esteem. Currently, in light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, considering the mass closures of schools and businesses, instability of employment or employment at home and the tension of the unknown can cause stress to build and lead to increased incidences of domestic violence. Hence, during this time of social distancing and shelter-in-place, domestic violence experts and shelters have expressed deep concerns as to the safety of domestic violence victims, as abusers can use social isolation to gain greater control over their victim, thus increasing the risk of a survivor’s personal safety.

              Per the Illinois Domestic Violence Act (750 ILCS 60), domestic violence is defined as any of the following: physical abuse, harassment, intimidation of a dependent, interference with personal liberty or willful deprivation (but does not include reasonable direction of a minor child by a parent). In a nutshell, harassment includes behavior that is not reasonable and it causes another emotional distress. Examples of emotional distress include creating a disturbance at a place of employment or school; repeatedly telephoning a place of employment, home or residence; repeatedly following someone to a public place or places; stalking (keeping someone under surveillance by remaining present outside their home, school, place of employment, vehicle or by peering into someone’s windows); improperly concealing a minor child;  repeatedly threatening to improperly remove a minor child from the physical care of a parent; repeatedly threatening to conceal a minor child or threatening physical force, confinement or restraint on one or more occasions.

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