Advocates Applaud Assembly Actions Protecting Abuse Victims

MADISON – End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin offered praise for several bills passed by the State Assembly Thursday night. A vote on the priority piece of legislation for domestic abuse victims, the SAFE Act, is scheduled for Tuesday.

“The bills passed by the State Assembly represent significant improvements for victims of abuse, said Patti Seger, executive director of End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin.

Assembly Bill 707, the first piece of legislation authored by Representative Rodriguez, offers judges options to enter longer term restraining orders in high-risk cases. Another bill, Assembly Bill 620, makes a number of changes that bolster Wisconsin’s response to human trafficking.

“Wisconsin takes a big leap forward for victims of human trafficking with the passage of Assembly Bill 620,” commented Seger.

The human trafficking bill gives victims the ability to seek the expungement of prostitution convictions that occurred as a result of their bondage. Advocates say this measure is critical to helping survivors of sex trafficking rebuild their lives and is key to appropriately recognizing survivors as victims of crime, rather than criminals.

The Assembly also approved bills to provide victims with stronger protections in cases involving vulnerable adults and with access to portions of pre-sentence investigations in criminal cases.

“As we are thankful for the Assembly’s actions today, we anxiously look forward to a vote on the SAFE Act (AB 464) next Tuesday,” said Patti Seger. “This bill is a proven way to save the lives of women, children and men. The SAFE Act creates a mechanism for the active enforcement of current laws that keep guns out of the hands of dangerous abusers. We know from many recent tragedies that laws in the statute books are only as good as the enforcement that happens on the ground.”

The SAFE Act is a bipartisan bill that has the support of survivors, advocates and law enforcement.

The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation makes it five times more likely that a woman will be killed, which is why an existing law prohibits known domestic abusers from buying or possessing guns. But a 2008 study found that 70% of Wisconsin counties had no active enforcement procedure to verify that abusers comply with this law.

The SAFE Act would remedy this problem by ensuring that abusers who are banned under current law from possessing guns are asked about firearms they own or possess and by creating a court process to hold them accountable.

Seger believes the floor action on Thursday demonstrates there is momentum to pass the SAFE Act next week.

“We thank Representatives Loudenbeck, Rodriguez, Strachota and Jim Ott and Senators Petrowski and Lazich for their work on the legislation that passed Thursday. We also acknowledge the leadership of Attorney General Van Hollen. Their collective work is a testament to the state legislature’s desire to offer help to victims of abuse,” noted Seger. “We urge all legislators to carry these efforts forward and save the lives of domestic abuse victims by also passing the SAFE Act next week.”




Selected Resources

Voting Guide for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Victim Advocates

This guide is meant to help advocates assist their clients with the voting process. With the passage of the Wisconsin photo ID voting law, there is a lot of confusion about who can vote and how they can vote.  The guide explains how survivors can register to vote and ensure they have the proper documentation to vote.   In this volatile political climate and budgetary climate, we need survivors’ voices and participation at the ballot box now more than ever.   

Hope. Vision. Future. A Plan for Providing Services to Domestic Violence Victims in Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Governor’s Council on Domestic Abuse has created a long-range plan for serving Domestic Abuse victims. This document includes an overview of Wisconsin Domestic Abuse Programs, including statistics, services, populations served, and a financial picture. Recommendations address the issues of Economic Justice, Financial Self- Sufficiency, Housing, Legal assistance and Primary Prevention.

2011-2012 Legislative Agenda
WCADV and WCASA Milwaukee Sick Pay Brief

Domestic and sexual violence take a tremendous toll on public health and safety in Milwaukee. This brief, filed by WCADV and WCASA, supports the Milwaukee Paid Sick Days Ordinance which permits victims paid leave to obtain services from these organizations.

2013-2014 Legislative Agenda
Changes to Wisconsin Unemployment Insurance for DV Victims - Dec 2009

WCADV Policy Development Coordinator, Tony Gibart, offers the following summary of how Wisconsin unemployment statutes have changed in response to The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

DCF Brochure about Domestic Violence and W-2

This brochure from the Department of Children and Families explains some of the resources and protections available to W-2 participants who are or were victims of domestic violence.  It is to be given to all W-2 applicants and participants. Hmong and Spanish versions are also available. 

Fact Sheets Related to Brookfield Shooting

These two fact sheets cover topics that were implicated by the shootings at a Brookfield, Wisconsin salon on Sunday, October 21, 2012.  They address (1) domestic violence and the workplace and (2) restraining orders and firearm surrender.