SAFE Act One Step Closer to Saving Lives

MADISON – On Tuesday night, End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin celebrated the State Assembly’s passage of Assembly Bill 464, known as the SAFE Act.

The group also urged the State Senate to act quickly to send the bill to the Governor’s desk. The SAFE Act, which stands for Stopping Abuse Fatalities through Enforcement, would implement model court procedures to ensure that abusers surrender their firearms when required to do so under current law.

Advocates for victims say that enforcing current laws that ban abusers from owning guns should be a critical priority because the presence of a gun in the home of an abused woman makes it 500% more likely that the abused woman will be killed in a domestic violence homicide. Advocates also point to research that links disarming abusers during the restraining order process with significant reductions in domestic violence homicides.

“We know this legislation will keep women, children and men safer,” said Patti Seger, executive director of End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin. “When victims have the strength to come forward to get protection, we at least owe it to them to make reasonable efforts to enforce those protections.”

A 2008 study found that 70% of Wisconsin counties had no active enforcement procedure to verify that abusers comply with the firearm surrender laws in restraining order cases. The SAFE Act would ensure that all counties use a tested verification process.

The SAFE Act procedures were implemented in four Wisconsin counties as part of a pilot project. The results of the pilot project demonstrated that the procedures offender compliance and gave victims greater peace of mind.

“The SAFE Act is a proven way to save lives,” continued Seger. “For close to two decades, the firearm surrender provisions of our restraining order laws looked good on paper, but, in reality, they left abusers to the honor system and left victims in vulnerable and deadly situations.

“With Tuesday’s vote in the Assembly, we only need the agreement of the State Senate to afford victims of abuse the commonsense protection they deserve. We urge the Senate to act soon,” Seger concluded. “We extend sincere thanks Representative Bies for his leadership in moving the bill forward”

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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.