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Wisconsin passes bills to protect domestic abuse victims


Wisconsin has approved three laws to help victims of domestic violence. The bills were approved in response to a domestic abuse victim that was shot last year by her estranged husband. The victim worked at a spa where her estranged husband shot and killed the woman and two other people.


Police had been called to the home of the couple in the past for domestic disputes. Police were accused of not following a law that required someone to be taken into custody anytime officers respond to a domestic violence call. One of the bills approved requires police officers to file a report with the district attorney's office anytime they do not make an arrest on a domestic violence call. The report must explain the officers' actions in not taking someone into custody.

Another one of the bills passed adds stalking and threatening to stalk to the list of actions that qualify as domestic violence. This bill also requires that a temporary restraining order remain in place when a case is transferred to a new judge.

The third bill in the trio of bills passed allows prosecutors to use reports of the suspects' relevant misconduct during the past ten years as evidence. Relevant misconduct includes restraining order violations and domestic abuse convictions.

Some representatives are troubled by the bill because it would allow information to be heard in court that comes from instances in which no charges were filed or there was no actual conviction. The bills have also been criticized by representatives who feel that the focus needs to be on rehabilitation and not on putting suspects in jail.

Domestic violence is a serious matter. Whether one is a victim of domestic violence, or has been accused of it, the consequences can be severe. It is important that anyone involved in a domestic violence situation explore all his or her legal options to remain safe and to fight false accusations.


Source: Pioneer Press, "Wisconsin Assembly passes domestic violence bills," June 13, 2013

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