4710 - Family Violence Exclusion

State of Illinois
Department of Human Services

Family Violence Exclusion

Important information for people who apply for or receive TANF

What is a family violence exclusion?

Domestic or sexual violence happens to people of all ages, races, income groups, religions, and educational backgrounds. If you or your child are a victim of past or current domestic or sexual violence you may be able to get a family violence exclusion. With this exclusion, you do not have to follow some of the rules for the TANF program and your TANF counter stops.

You will be required to show how the violence in your life prevents you from working.

What kinds of violence are included?

Domestic violence is what someone says or does to make you feel afraid or to control you. These are some examples of domestic violence:

  • Swearing or screaming at you
  • Threatening to hurt you or others you care about
  • Calling you names
  • Not letting you leave your house
  • Blaming you for everything that goes wrong
  • Forcing you to have sex
  • Choking, grabbing, punching, or kicking you
  • Smashing or breaking things

How do I get a domestic violence exclusion?

Sexual violence is a sexual assault to you or a member of your family. The assult may have been by someone you know or by a stranger, and does not have to be recent.

Stalking is a form of violence when it makes you or a member of your family fear for their safety. The stalker may or may not be known to you. The harassment may be in person, or through cyberstalking, such as by phone, computer, e-mail, video recorder, fax machine, telex, pager, radio, or any other means of electronic communications.

How do I get a family violence exclusion?

If, because of domestic or sexual violence, you need to be excused from participation in work and training activities that prepare you for work you must:

  • tell your worker you want a family violence exclusion.
  • show that the violence happened by giving your worker any of these items:
    • Medical records
    • A statement from a domestic or sexual violence worker
    • A statement from another professional - like a doctor, nurse, clergy,
      counselor, social worker - who you told about the abuse
    • A statement from someone - like a neighbor, family member or coworker - who knows about the abuse
    • Photos of injuries or damage to your property
    • A police report
    • A copy of an order of protection

If you need help getting any of these items, talk to a domestic or sexual violence worker or your caseworker.

What is an RSP?

An RSP is a Responsibility and Service Plan that you make with your caseworker.

The plan includes activities to help you deal with your abusive situation and become employed.

  • The first goal of the plan is to be sure that you and your children are safe.
  • The plan can only include work and training activities if it is safe for you and your children. You should work with a person trained in domestic or sexual violence and your caseworker to develop a plan that takes into account your situation.
  • Make sure you really can meet the goals in your RSP.

Only you know what you can do. Only you know how dangerous your situation is. If you need to change the plan or cannot follow it, contact your worker as soon as possible.

If you are denied an exclusion, or if it is canceled, you can appeal.

You may be able to get legal advice or help with an appeal from your local legal aid office.

You do not have to tell your caseworker to receive help. For information about a Domestic Violence Program in your area call 1-800-799-7233 (voice) or 1-800-799-3224 (TTY).

For information about sexual assault, call the rape crisis hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

You do not have to get an order for protection or attend counseling to get a family violence exclusion.

For more information:

Call or visit your Illinois Department of Human Services' Family Community Resource Center (FCRC).

If you have questions about any Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) program, call or visit your FCRC. We will answer your questions. If you do not know where your FCRC is or if you are unable to go there, you may call the automated helpline 24 hours a day at:


(866) 324-5553 TTY/Nextalk or 711 Illinois Relay

You may speak to a representative between:  8:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Monday - Friday (except state holidays)

For answers to your questions, you may also write:

Illinois Department of Human Services

Bureau of Customer Support and Services

600 E. Ash, Bldg 500-5th Floor

Springfield, Illinois 62703

Visit our website at:


Programs, activities and employment opportunities in the Illinois Department of Human Services are open and accessible to any individual or group without regard to age, sex, race, sexual orientation, disability, ethnic origin or religion. The department is an equal opportunity employer and practices affirmative action and reasonable accommodation programs.

DHS 4710 (R-06-17) Family Violence Exclusion  Printed by the Authority of the State of Illinois.  3,000 copies P.O. #17-175