Governor Signs Bills to Protect Domestic Abuse Victims

Milwaukee—With survivors and advocates present, Governor Walker signed three bills on Wednesday to improve the state’s response to domestic violence.


The SAFE (Stopping Abuse Fatalities through Enforcement) Act will require courts to verify that violent offenders surrender their firearms in accordance with a longstanding law in Wisconsin. The measure has been sought for several years, after a 2008 study found the vast majority of counties did not actively enforce the surrender requirement.

“The SAFE Act will save lives,” said Patti Seger, executive director of End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin. “We know a gun makes an abuser more dangerous and more lethal. Moving forward, Wisconsin will be actively disarming known batterers and child abusers.”

Assembly Bill 176

Another piece of legislation, Assembly Bill 176, makes a number of other changes to Wisconsin’s restraining order statutes. The bill will add stalking to the definition of domestic abuse and give child victims better privacy protections.

“Stalking in domestic violence cases is one of the greatest indicators of high risk,” said Seger. “Wisconsin’s law will now reflect that reality.”

Earlier, Governor Walker signed AB 707 into law, which will provide for longer-term restraining orders in certain circumstances.

Senate Bill 160

The third bill, Senate Bill 160, will ensure that law enforcement officers refer victims to services after law enforcement responds to the scene of domestic violence incidents.

“We know that seeking services from a domestic violence advocate can be one of the most significant steps a victim can take to improve his or her safety,” said Seger. “This bill will help break down the isolation and fear that allow abuse to thrive.

“We extend deep thanks to the authors of these bills: Representatives Bies, Jacque, Rodriguez, Berceau, Sprios, Kerkman and Bernard Schaber; and Senators Petrowski, Lazich, Taylor, Gudex and Ellis. Even more importantly, we thank the many survivors who shared their stories. They helped build understanding and support for these needed changes. We also appreciate that Governor Walker took the time to meet and hear from many of these survivors today before signing the legislation,” concluded Seger.  


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.