Victim Organizations Join Calls for Veto of Bail Bondsmen

Madison—Advocates for victims of domestic and sexual violence joined a growing group of individuals, leaders and organizations calling for the veto of a state budget provisions that would bring bail bondsmen to Wisconsin. While the groups note there are a number of positive items for victims in the budget, they say bail bondmen would put victims at risk and jeopardize resources that support victim restitution and services.

“Bail bondsmen would take Wisconsin in the wrong direction,” said Pennie Meyers, executive director of the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault (WCASA). “Victims who take the courageous step of coming forward to hold perpetrators accountable deserve to have a judge make the ultimate decision about offenders’ release, not a for-profit entity.”

“We know the pre-trial period is incredibly dangerous for victims of domestic violence, because of the risk of intimidation and retaliation,” said Patti Seger, executive director of End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin. “We want to create a system that prioritizes victim safety during this critical period. Bail bondsmen are a major impediment to that goal.”

The opposition to bail bondsmen has been nearly universal among Wisconsin law enforcement and court officials. Yesterday, Wisconsin Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen voiced his objections to the plan. In addition to the public safety concerns, he and others have cited the harmful effect bondsmen have on funding streams for crime victims.

“With bail bonds, victims and taxpayers lose out, while the bondsmen profits,” said Seger. “Because offenders don’t pay cash bond to the court, the state has little leverage with which to collect victim restitution and the fines that fund court costs and victim support services. If bail bonds are used in Wisconsin, it will result in offenders paying less money for victim services and other public expenses.”

“Victims of sexual assault experience so many financial costs for medical expenses, counseling and missed work—all on top of the trauma and psychological harm,” said Meyers. “Bail bondsmen would get paid and make a profit before victims recoup their losses. That is wrong.”

Both Seger and Meyers joined in concluding, “We appreciate and applaud the proactive steps Governor Walker and the Legislature have taken to support victims of domestic and sexual violence. We urge the Governor to continue that effort by preventing the use of bondsmen in Wisconsin.”

 

Selected Resources

Voting Guide for Advocates and Survivors

This guide is meant to help advocates assist their clients with the voting process. With recent law changes and court decisions, even the basics of how to cast a ballot can be very confusing  The guide covers voter registeration, ID requirements and determining where to vote. 

Development and Maintenance of Policies Prohibiting Harassment of LGBTQ People

THIS RECORDING

This webinar is about policies to promote inclusion of both LGBTQ clients and employees.  After viewing the webinar, participants will be able to list the types of policies that support an environment free of harassment and bullying of LGBTQ people, describe ways to assist staff in understanding and following the policies, and list the elements of a plan to monitor claims, address them seriously, and document their corrective action(s). 

VIEW AND LISTEN. You will be directed to a short survey and the link to the recorded webinar.

THE SERIES

The series is provided by the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Domestic Abuse Program, and presented by Molly Herrmann, statewide training consultant and member of the End Domestic Abuse WI and WI Coalition Against Sexual Assault LGBTQ Committee. Services Act (FVPSA) federal requirements. Webinar 3 is Development and Maintenance of Policies Prohibiting  Discrimination and Harassment of LGBTQ People.

The series offers a wonderful opportunity to reflect on organization practices and culture, and to build bridges between existing knowledge and skills and innovative, emerging practices, while also meeting the DCF training requirement.

All staff of DCF domestic violence programs receiving FVPSA funding must view each webinar live (February and March 2015) or recorded.

CERTIFICATE OF COMPLETION AND ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

When you have completed the recorded webinar, download the certificate below.  It can be completed electronically or by hand and printed. Handouts are also available for download.