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Featured Image for Appellate Court Overturns Ruling on 2012 Brookfield Spa Shooting Case, Increases Accountability for Online Firearm Dealers that Facilitate Illegal Gun Sales

Madison — A state appeals court reinstated a lawsuit yesterday that The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence filed on behalf of Yasmeen Daniel against Armslist.com, holding the company liable for the illegal gun sale that led to the murder of Daniel’s mother. Victim advocates around the state are applauding the decision as an important step towards increased accountability for companies that provide a platform for illegal gun sales online.
 
“Today’s ruling is yet another reminder that as long as the private sale loophole exists in our federal background check system, domestic abusers will continue to exploit it to terrorize and kill their partners,” said Patti Seger, Executive Director of End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin. “The fact is, family and intimate assaults with firearms are twelve times more likely to result in death than non-firearm assaults and abused women are more than five times more likely to be killed if their abuser owns a firearm. This decision shows that truly keeping victims safe requires closing the private sale and gun-show loopholes immediately and ensuring universal background checks on all gun sales, period.”

Zina Daniel-Haughton was murdered by her estranged husband, along with two of her co-workers at the Azana Spa and Salon in Brookfield in 2012. Although he was prohibited from buying a gun because of an active domestic abuse restraining order, Radcliffe Haughton easily obtained a firearm on Armslist.com through the private sale loophole in the federal background check system.
 
“Since 2000, End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin has reported on every instance of domestic violence homicide in Wisconsin,” said Seger. “Each year, guns are the most common weapon in domestic violence homicides—they account for more killings than all other weapons combined. Today’s ruling will send a message to online arms dealers that they need to do more to stop the illegal gun sales that all too often end in tragedies like the Brookfield Spa Shooting. Our thoughts are with the families of the three shooting victims that lost their lives that day, we hope this landmark decision will encourage companies like Armslist.com to take further action to keep guns out of abusers’ hands and prevent domestic violence from claiming more lives.”
 
The state appellate court found that Daniel’s lawsuit doesn’t treat Armslist.com as the publisher of information provided by someone else, which would exempt it from liability, but instead seeks to hold the company liable for managing the website in a way that allowed Haughton to intentionally avoid a background check that would have denied him access to a weapon. Victim advocates around the state report that the ruling sets an important precedent for future cases involving guns sold through loopholes in the current federal background check system.

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Featured Image for Get to Know Our Staff, Board and Work

We recently created a few social media graphics that offer a little glimpse into the people and passions that make up End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin! Check out these graphics as a way to get to know our staff, board and work a bit better. 

faces of end abuse

Featured Image for WI Domestic Violence Programs Applaud Passage of Bill that Offers Additional Protections for Advocates Who Experience Abuse

Madison — Advocates for victims of domestic violence across Wisconsin are lauding the passage of Assembly Bill 581 (AB 581), a proposal that will offer additional legal protections for victim advocates, legal system employees and members of law enforcement who are also themselves victims of abuse. AB 581 will allow this specific category of professionals (or their partners) to file for protective orders in a county within 100 miles of the one they reside in, offering them crucial anonymity that is often lacking for victims seeking these life-saving legal services while also working in the field.  
 
“In 2013 the Wisconsin domestic violence advocacy community lost Patricia (Trish) Waschbisch, a tireless advocate and longtime friend to so many in the movement, at the hands of her abuser. The fact that someone so committed to eradicating domestic violence for the sake of others could at the same time be experiencing abuse speaks to the fact that victims working in the field face unique barriers to safety that must be addressed,” said Patti Seger, executive director of End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin. “When a victim advocate knows the judges, prosecutors, law enforcement officers and other members of the justice system, the process of getting a restraining order forces them to reveal their status as a survivor to their entire professional community. No victim of abuse should have to give up their privacy just to access these often life-saving services, particularly when they are committing their life to keeping survivors safe every single day.” 

While domestic violence program staff who also experience abuse are commonly considered to have easier access to protective services than victims who do not work in the field of advocacy, the opposite tends to be true. 

“There is nothing ironic about an advocate becoming a victim of domestic violence. One out of four American women will be the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime and advocates such as Trish are not immune,” said Courtney Olson, Executive Director of Rainbow House. “We deserve the same rights to privacy and confidentiality as those we serve. This bill will save lives by offering an alternative path to safety for those engaged in this work.”

“I can’t even find the right words to express how much the passage of AB 581 will assist advocates and other professionals working in the field of domestic violence as they seek protection for themselves and their families,” said Jessica Honish, Lead Advocate at Rainbow House. “Trish would have been proud of this bill, knowing that it will keep advocates safe as they work to protect others.”  

AB 581 passed out of the Senate this week without a single opposing vote and will now be sent to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law along with over 100 other proposals recently passed by the legislature. Victim advocates report that the additional safety measures included in the bill will ensure that fewer survivors are precluded from utilizing critical protective orders and left at risk of further abuse or homicide.
 
“We would like to thank the bi-partisan group of authors who worked on AB 581 for recognizing the unique barriers to services that this category of victim experiences, and taking action to ensure that they have the necessary privacy to stay safe,” continued Seger. “Although we may have lost our friend, Trish, this bill will help to protect others facing similar circumstances, which is something we know she would have wanted.”

The changes laid out in AB 581 will take effect the day after the bill is signed into law by Governor Walker.

Featured Image for Mini Grants to Connect Generations in Youth-Serving Gender-Based Violence Programs
Through April 4, End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin is excited to be accepting applications for 2018 Growing Roots Mini Grants.
 
The purpose of the Growing Roots mini-grant is to connect generations - youth & elders - in youth & youth-serving gender-based violence programs in Wisconsin. This mini-grant is for spring and summer 2018, for projects that focus on empowering youth through connections with their elders. Culturally-specific and/or projects that serve under-served communities (communities of color, LGB communities, Trans communities, & intersections of these communities) are encouraged to apply.

To be eligible, applicants should have an affiliation with a domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, or other gender-based violence organization in WI that serves youth. Proposed projects must empower youth by connecting generations - youth with elders & vice versa - and must be of the following: a garden, a culturally-specific project (e.g. violence prevention in a specific community, storytelling, connecting or reconnecting culture), an artistic project (e.g. video project, inter-generational art gallery, mural), or a combination of any of these three (e.g. garden growing culturally-specific food, story cloths project, etc.). Additionally, applicants must have a usable Facebook account.

 Up to 5 Wisconsin domestic violence/sexual assault programs will be awarded funds that will go towards their project. Each DV/SA program may apply for up to $700. Funds may be used towards materials & small stipends of the proposed project only. If the proposed project is a garden, for example, eligible materials include seeds, plants, plant food, soil, raised beds, raised bed timbers, compost, and gardening tools. If the proposed is a story cloths project, eligible materials might include fabric, needles, thread, and embroidery materials. Stipends may be monetary, public transportation passes, and/or gift cards.

For questions about this application or this mini-grant, please contact Danny Ho, REACH Coordinator, at dannyh@endabusewi.org or at 608-237-3459. For additional information and to submit an application, visit http://www.endabusewi.org/Growing-Roots-Mini-Grant-2018/
Featured Image for Victim Advocates Call on State Senate to Reject Proposal for New $350 Million Prison

Madison - Advocates for victims of domestic violence in Wisconsin are speaking out in opposition to a proposal that would dramatically increase the population of prisons across the state in addition to earmarking over $350 million of state funds to build a new prison. Coming just weeks after the passage of several harmful proposals to restrict social safety net services, victim advocates see the bill as a shocking example of misguided priorities in the legislature.

"On any given day, over 200 domestic violence victims and their kids are struggling to find a safe shelter as they flee abuse," said Patti Seger, Executive Director of End Domestic Abuse WI. "How can we tell survivors in this state that we do not have the resources to provide them with a safe place to sleep, but we have hundreds of millions of dollars to create and house new prisoners?"

The proposal, Senate Bill 54 (SB 54), would require the Department of Corrections (DOC) to recommend revoking a person's extended supervision, parole, or probation if the person is charged with any new crime, regardless of the severityor whether they are eventually found innocent. The State Assembly passed SB 54 on a party line vote with an amendment to provide funding for a new prison facility.

 

"The fact that some legislators are so committed to fiscal prudence when it comes to programs like FoodShare and Medicaid but are willing to pay any amount to dramatically increase the prison population is incredibly disheartening," continued Seger. "If lawmakers are committed to protecting people from violence, they should invest in services like the Emergency Assistance program, which was cut by 17% in the previous budget and helps low-income survivors find housing in times of crisis, they should implement dating violence curricula in our local schools to break cycles of abuse and they should reform our justice system to implement trauma-informed practices that empower victims to assume control of their lives. Survivors in Wisconsin don't need a new prison, they need elected officials who respond to their actual needs."

SB 54, including the amendment to fund a new prison, has not yet passed in the Senate. With one day of voting left in this legislative session, advocates are urging the Senate to abandon SB 54and instead pass bills that would help victims stay safe like Senate Bill 476, which would offer additional protections for victims who work in the legal system, and Assembly Bills 115 and 116, which would expand access to civil legal aid. 

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Featured Image for Be part of a virtuous cycle.

Be part of a virtuous cycle. On Tuesday, March 6th, be part of the BIG SHAREIt's a fun way to spread awareness, take action and help promote the social change that will end domestic abuse for individuals and in our communities.

The Big Share is an online day of giving hosted by Community Shares of Wisconsin for End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin and over 70 other agencies who are dedicated to building an equitable, just community and protecting our environment. You can create your own fundraising page today or set your calendar to join in the action next Tuesday.

Your participation in the Big Share will support actions like:

  • Providing legal services to immigrant survivors of domestic abuse
  • Mobilizing youth activism at the Teen Summit and beyond
  • Enhancing the response to survivors through professional training and education
  • Bringing survivors' voices to the Capitol
  • Training law enforcement on evidence-based homicide prevention programs
  • Year-long leadership training for survivors and their advocates
  • Capacity development for the over 70 local domestic abuse programs in WI
We could go on and on, but you see where we are going with this. Not only will you be supporting a multi-faceted approach to ending domestic abuse in Wisconsin. When you participate in online giving through the Big Share, you are spreading awareness and a spirit of engagement and activism, which is a BIG part of the solution!

The 2018 Teen Summit was the biggest and best yet. Over 500 teens and their adult mentors came together to learn from one another and to chart a course towards a more peaceful and just future. The event was jam packed with youth-led performances, workshops and other activities. Youth heard from two inspirational keynote speakers and got a sneak preview of End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin's upcoming statewide healthy relationships public awareness campaign (stay tuned!).

Since the Teen Summit, nationally, we have witnessed another horrific act of gun violence take place in a school. And many of us have been amazed and inspired as teens from Parkland, Florida have turned from tragedy to resolve, offering fierce hope to a seemingly bleak and numb world.

That unique gift of young people, to rise above acceptance of the present state of things with vision and passion, is what this year's Teen Summit was all about. We are confident that the 500 attendees of the Summit will create a better future and that, although the 2018 Teen Summit is over, its true impact is just beginning!

See you at the 2019 Summit!

Featured Image for Wisconsin Victim Advocates Outraged by Votes to Restrict Public Benefits and Deny Universal Background Checks for Gun Sales

Madison — Advocates for victims of domestic violence across Wisconsin are once again expressing frustration over the actions of legislative Republicans in the Capitol. Following the Assembly’s vote last week to pass a package of bills aimed at restricting access to social safety net services, the Senate passed 9 out of 10 bills of the same legislative package yesterday on a party line vote. Compounding advocates’ dismay over this vote in the Senate was Assembly Republicans’ decision to once again reject a widely supported bill to implement universal background checks on all gun sales. 
 
“Yesterday’s votes are showing Wisconsin advocates and survivors that many of the people elected to represent them simply do not prioritize the safety and independence of domestic violence victims,” said Patti Seger, Executive Director of End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin. “Domestic violence has always been a non-partisan issue and we have long relied on legislative allies from both parties to understand and respond to the unique dynamics facing survivors and their children. But the fact remains that Wisconsin victims need increased access to public benefits, not restrictions and cuts. They need common sense gun regulations like universal background checks, not more firearms in their communities and their children’s schools. If these elected officials were listening to the voices of survivors and advocates in their districts, they would know that family and intimate assaults with firearms are 12 times more likely to result in death than non-firearm assault. We have got to start addressing the root causes of domestic violence in this state, and that means real policy changes that prioritize youth prevention work, increase access to social safety net programs and make it harder for people to acquire firearms, not easier.”
 
In the most recent Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday, ninety-seven percent of those surveyed said they support requiring background checks for all gun buyers, while just 2 percent were opposed. Additionally, research from the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV) shows that public benefit programs that support basic economic security are critical to the ability of domestic violence victims to achieve the financial independence necessary to escape violence.
 
“Domestic violence does not exist in a vacuum, it arises when batterers are able to exploit existing power structures to control and abuse their victims,” continued Seger. “Until we stop treating struggling families and other people in need of assistance as criminals and make real changes to the systems that affect their daily lives, we will never eradicate violence from our communities. If lawmakers are as serious as they claim to be about addressing domestic abuse, they can start with universal health care, free childcare, expanded affordable housing, living wages and real restrictions on gun access in our state.”  

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Featured Image for Domestic Violence Advocates Appalled by President Trump’s Support for Abusers, Dismayed by His Budget Priorities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEFebruary 13, 2018

CONTACT: Chase Tarrier, Public Policy Coordinator, 

End Domestic Abuse WI 

chaset@endabusewi.org, 608.237.3985

Domestic Violence Advocates Appalled by President Trumps Support for Abusers, Dismayed by His Budget Priorities  

Madison — Coming on the heels of unambiguous statements of support for multiple domestic batterers, Wisconsin advocates for victims of domestic violence are voicing strong opposition to President Trump’s newly introduced 2019 budget proposal that includes dramatic cuts to critical services for victims like the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). Programs such as the LSC, the single largest provider of legal aid for low income Americans, exist to serve struggling families, disabled citizens and other vulnerable individuals like survivors of violence.  
 
“President Trump’s recent statements unequivocally supporting domestic abusers in his administration is yet another example of his disturbing history of violence against women both personally and politically,” said Patti Seger, Executive Director of End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin. “Even by the standards of this administration, openly supporting multiple abusive staff members as their former victims courageously disclose their history of violence is as concerning as it is shocking. 1 in 4 women will experience domestic abuse at some point in their lives, and it is truly a sad day for those of us involved in the movement to end domestic violence when the President of the United States not only threatens victims’ safety through the budgetary powers of his office, but actively supports the very abusers that are controlling and harming them in every community across the country.”
 
The Trump administration has been widely criticized in recent days for statements made by both the President and his Chief of Staff John Kelly in the wake of reporting that White House staff secretary Rob Porter and David Sorensen, a member of the Trump administration's speechwriting team, both have a history of domestic abuse against former spouses. Compounding the shocking affirmative statements of support for the accused batterers, it was then uncovered that the White House was made aware of the accusations against Rob Porter before his hiring and that they had in fact contributed to a delay in granting him a permanent security clearance.
 
“The first step in combatting domestic violence is listening to victims and believing them. President Trump’s statements show yet again that he not only does not prioritize victim safety, but is in fact contributing to the trauma they face every day,” continued Seger. “We are calling on President Trump to apologize to all victims of domestic violence and educate himself on the cycle of control that abusers like Rob Porter and David Sorenson inflict on their victims. Maybe if he listened to the voices of survivors he wouldn’t be so quick to slash the services they rely on when escaping violence.”
 
President Trump’s budget proposal, which would make large cuts to funds established in the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) and fully eliminate the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), was introduced just days after his public statements of support for the two recently-resigned domestic abusers in his administration. 

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Featured Image for Patti Seger Named to Biden Foundation Council
On January 22nd, End Abuse Executive Director Patti Seger was named to the inaugural Biden Foundation Advisory Council on violence against women. She joins 16 other national leaders who will advise the Foundation on its initiatives to reduce and prevent domestic and sexual violence.
 
“Jill and I believe that, in America, everyone deserves a fair shot at the American dream. That starts by making sure every person is treated with equal dignity,” said Vice President Biden, Honorary Co-chair of the Biden Foundation. “The members named to the Advisory Councils today have devoted their lives to that creed, and we’re lucky to have them lend their expertise to this mission. By working together, we can do more to protect the rights of all people, expand access to opportunity and give every American a chance at a middle-class life. I am eager for what we will accomplish together.”
 
Advisory Council members will advise Foundation programs, enlist feedback from diverse networks and communities, and spearhead external partnerships on behalf of the Foundation to catalyze meaningful and measurable change. The first meeting of the Advisory Councils will be held by phone at the beginning of 2018, and members are expected to convene in person at least once every year.
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We envision communities fully engaged to provide safety and to give a voice to all affected by domestic abuse, while creating the social change necessary to address its root causes. We honor the wisdom and strength of domestic abuse survivors across the lifespan. Our mission is achievable through survivor-centered work that includes strategic partnerships and collaboration. As advocates for social justice, we embrace the voices of diverse communities.