Legal

Our legal department examines the impact of the legal system and legal processes on domestic violence victims.  The Director of the Legal Department, the Immigration and Poverty Law Attorney and legal interns conduct research, produce materials, provide technical assistance and conduct trainings to assist advocates and legal professionals. The legal department produces a legal manual, written for Wisconsin domestic violence programs.

On an annual basis, members of the legal department provide trainings on restraining orders, family law, economic advocacy and immigration law to member programs.  In addition, statewide trainings are provided as requested or needed to members of the legal profession such as probation agents, judges, circuit court commissioners, attorneys, prosecutors, defense attorneys, clerks of court and victim/witness personnel.

Members of the legal department engage in systems advocacy on many topics, which vary from year-to-year.  However, issues pertaining to restraining orders are an ongoing part of systems advocacy.

We also manage a legal fund to provide financial support with legal fees for victims of domestic violence. These funds are available to domestic violence programs only, who can apply for a small amount of funds on behalf of a victim seeking legal representation. 

We engage in collaborative work with many outside agencies.  The legal department offers a law school externship program which allows law school and paralegal students to work here, providing assistance with research and the creation of materials for the Legal Manual.  There are no funds available for the services provided by students or attorney volunteers. 

Click to view all Legal Resources

Selected Resources

Overview of State and Federal Laws Impacting Victims of Domestic Violence
A. Restraining Orders in Wisconsin

This grid asks and answers questions about all four types of protection orders.

B. Process to Obtain a Restraining Order in Wisconsin
H. Databases for Wisconsin Civil and Criminal Information
A. Overview of Wisconsin’s mandatory arrest law
Eligibility for Public Benefit Programs

An outline of available programs in Wisconsin and eligibility information.

NNEDV Safety Net’s Technology & Confidentiality Resources Toolkit

This unique and innovative micro website was developed by NNEDV’s Safety Net Team to assist domestic violence, dating abuse, sexual violence, and stalking non-profit victim service organizations and partnerships including victims service agencies with specific and useful resources on confidentiality and privacy.  www.nnedv.org/tools

Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children - Dane County Needs Assessment
Military victims/survivors handbook

Wisconsin handbook to assist victims/survivors of domestic abuse connected to the military.Coming soon!

Wisconsin Human Trafficking Protocol and Resource Manual
Custody and Placement - Overview and Troubleshooting (6.9.14)

Morgan discusses some of the most commonly raised issues regarding custody and placement, including non-marital children, leaving with children and changing orders.

Click HERE to view and listen to the recorded webinar.

Other Acts Evidence: Recent Legislative Changes 3-18-2015 Recorded Webinar (approximately 60 minutes)

On February 18, 2015, End Abuse and the WI Coalition Against Sexual Assault  co-hosted this webinar by Assistant Attorneys General Audrey Skwierawski and Miriam Falk, discussing the anticipated impact of this important legislative change.

View and listen to the recorded webinar now. (You will be directed to respond to two questions and then go on to the recording.) Handouts can be downloaded below.

Description: In 2014 the WI legislature significantly expanded the ability of prosecutors to introduce evidence of prior acts by the defendant in domestic violence and sexual assault cases.  It is hoped that this new broader standard will help prosecutors provide juries with a more complete picture of the defendant’s history and behavior resulting in increased offender accountability.

The change requires that law enforcement officers take a complete history of the defendant’s prior actions and  that prosecutors be able to explain these behaviors using well established DV/SA dynamics.  It may also require increased expert testimony.  Victims may be asked to provide more information than they have in the past, both to law enforcement and to the jury.   The advocate will likely be called upon to explain to victims why this information is being collected and how it can be useful in holding offenders accountable.  Advocates who testify as expert witnesses may be called more frequently in order to explain the additional contextual information being presented at trial.

This webinar discussed the statutory change and provided illustrations of how the change may impact victims and advocates.  All advocates who discuss criminal proceedings with clients and those who may serve as expert witnesses will benefit from this recorded webinar.