(CN) – Victims of domestic violence do not need a protection order to sue police for allegedly failing to protect them from abusers, the Illinois Appellate Court ruled.
Margaret I. Wilson was shot and killed by her husband, David C. Wilson. Her estate sued the city of Joliet for breaching its duty to protect her under the Domestic Violence Act.
The Act requires law enforcement officers to remove victims from the scene of the abuse so they can obtain an order of protection.
The defendants argued that the estate failed to show that Wilson was a protected person – specifically, that she had already obtained a protection order when she was killed.
The trial court dismissed the case, but Justice Schmidt reinstated it.
Margaret made several phone calls to police and also flagged down an officer for help. However, the estate said the officers did not help Margaret obtain a protection order and failed to investigate whether there were guns in the Wilson home.
In an issue of first impression, Justice Schmidt ruled that the lack of a protection order did not bar Margaret’s lawsuit.
“Such a requirement would be contrary to the express language of the Act and would defeat the legislative intent,” Schmidt wrote. “The facts pled by plaintiff, if proven, are sufficient to establish plaintiff’s decedent as a person ‘in need of protection’ under the Act.”