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Featured Image for Wisconsin Domestic Violence Survivor Threatened by ICE, End Abuse and RISE Call on Agency to Stop the Intimidation Immediately

Representatives of End Domestic Abuse WI, the statewide coalition representing domestic violence shelters across Wisconsin, and RISE Law Center, a legal aid office for immigrant and undocumented survivors of violence, expressed outrage at recent actions taken by ICE representatives against María Portgual, a survivor of domestic violence who has lived in Wisconsin for over 20 years. Directors from the two organizations emphasized the appalling nature of ICE’s use of threats of deportation against a victim of domestic violence in order to locate her abuser, a man with whom she has had no contact in over a year.
 
“A survivor of domestic violence being threatened by ICE with deportation and separation from her daughter in order to locate her abuser is one of the most egregious examples of re-traumatizing and cruel enforcement tactics that we have ever seen in this state,” said Patti Seger, Executive Director of End Domestic Abuse WI. “The fact that ICE is using fear, intimidation and threats of family separation against undocumented families is appalling in its own right, but it is truly hard to put into words just how disturbing it is to see these tactics used against a victim of domestic violence because of the actions of her abuser. ICE’s use of threats against this victim not only blame her for the abuse she experienced, but could threaten her safety by forcing her into contact with her abusive husband.”


The two organizations are supporting their allies at Voces de la Frontera by calling on ICE Regional Director Ricardo Wong to meet with a delegation of families threatened by ICE, and to clearly and publicly state that ICE will immediately stop threatening María with detention and separation from her daughter. 


“María Portgual has had a pending U-Visa application for over three years, so there is absolutely no excuse for ICE to target her with threats to locate her abuser” said Gricel Santiago-Rivera, Executive Director of RISE Law Center. “While María is not one of our clients, we help survivors process U-Visas regularly at our organization to protect them from deportation while they work with law enforcement to hold violent offenders accountable. The idea that ICE would punish a survivor for bravely stepping forward and working with law enforcement by threatening her with deportation is inhumane and absurd. This injustice must stop immediately and this survivor must receive assurance that she will not be targeted for deportation because of the actions of her estranged husband.”


Members of the media are encouraged to attend a press conference regarding the case at 5pm at this evening at Madison Christian Community, located at 7118 Old Sauk Rd, Madison, WI 53717. Speakers at the event will include María Portgual and other families under threat of separation by ICE, as well as representatives of Voces de la Frontera, Dane Sanctuary Coalition, Latino Consortium for Action and others.


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Featured Image for Diving Deeper: Exploring Issues Relating to Domestic Violence through the Coalition Chronicles

For more than 20 years, End Abuse has released semiannual publications highlighting innovative and inspiring efforts to address domestic abuse – both within Wisconsin’s communities and beyond its borders. Formerly the Educational Journal and currently called Coalition Chronicles, these publications offer in-depth exploration of the many intersecting issues that domestic violence survivors and advocates must navigate in their daily lives and work.

Over the years, these publications have included input from experts in their fields, offered resources for delving deeper into complex issues related to gender based violence, and challenged us to reflect on our work in the larger social justice context. We’ve examined such topics as Transformative Justice, Mental Health & Substance Abuse, the Incarceration of Battered Women, and Global Perspectives on Violence Against Women, to name just a few.

In the latest edition of the Chronicles, we look at the topic of Family Law and share the important data collection End Abuse has done on family law system failures to protect survivors of domestic abuse and their children. In addition to providing an overview of the issues at play, End Abuse staff offer their insights on the importance of Guardians ad Litem, recommendations for using the SAFeR Framework outlined in the Domestic Abuse Guidebook for WI Guardians ad Litem, a summary of research findings, and policy recommendations drawn from these findings.

Check out the latest edition of Coalition Chronicles, and view our past editions at http://www.endabusewi.org/coalition-chronicles/.

 

Featured Image for End Domestic Abuse WI and RISE Law Center Support Rallies to End Family Separations

Representatives of End Domestic Abuse WI, the statewide coalition representing domestic violence shelters across Wisconsin, and RISE Law Center, a legal aid office for immigrant and undocumented survivors of violence, spoke out today in support of rallies occurring across the country to protest family separations at the border. Directors from End Abuse and RISE emphasized their outrage at the Trump administration’s ongoing approach to border security and detention, focusing in particular on children who have yet to be reunited with their parents.

“The Trump administration’s so-called “zero tolerance policy” on immigration is immoral, inhumane and cruel,” said Patti Seger, Executive Director of End Domestic Abuse WI. “The policy of detaining and deporting all people attempting to cross the border is not only tearing apart innocent families who are legally seeking asylum, often from domestic and sexual violence, but is also heightening the fear that immigrant and undocumented victims of violence feel all across the country. When undocumented survivors of violence do not feel empowered to engage with law enforcement to stay safe, violent abusers capitalize on their victim’s fear to continue their cycle of control unimpeded. We hope the nationwide demonstrations planned for this Saturday will make it clear that the American people will not stand for the continuation of this humanitarian crisis at the border.”

End Abuse and RISE are calling on the Trump administration and leaders in Congress to use their executive and legislative authority to reunite every single family that remains brutally torn apart and prove it. Additionally, they are demanding the permanent end of the separation of children and families, an immediate and permanent reversal of the zero-tolerance policy and the passage of a clean DACA bill to ensure protections for young people brought to the United States as children.

“Every day, we work with clients who live in constant fear of deportation and separation from their children,” said Gricel Santiago-Rivera, Executive Director of RISE Law Center. “The climate of fear that the Trump administration created with its abhorrent actions regarding immigration has had a direct impact on the willingness of survivors to contact police, seek out restraining orders or even pick up their children from school. The people we serve are loving parents who are in this country lawfully seeking out asylum from abuse. Whether that abuse stems from an intimate partner or instability and violence abroad, no one deserves to be detained, separated from their family and deported for simply wanting to live a dignified life free of violence. We demand the reunification of these families immediately, anything less is an affront to basic decency and human rights.”

In the past month, more than 2,000 children were separated from their parents, and many more were separated in the previous month. Rallies to protest family separation will take place on Saturday, June 30, 2018 in over 700 cities across the United States including Madison, Milwaukee, La Crosse, Green Bay, Wausau, Appleton and many more.   

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Featured Image for Advocates Concerned that Trump Executive Order Doesn’t Go Far Enough
Madison—Yesterday, President Trump signed an Executive Order to stop the heinous practice of separating families at the border. Advocates were elated to know that the US government will no longer pull families apart. However, that joy quickly deteriorated with the knowledge that a child’s first experience in this country will still be behind the unwelcoming, cruel bars of a jail.
 
“Week after week of attacks on immigrants have left us all feeling devastated and frankly, ashamed. How can the United States of America continue to treat immigrants and refugees seeking safety and hope so wickedly? At End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin, every day, we strive to provide the tools and resources necessary to support human beings out of traumatic and violent situations. Although President Trump’s Executive Order is a step in a better direction, it does not erase the trauma this country has already perpetrated against thousands of families and children. It will also not prevent the continued degradation of immigrants and refugees. President Trump and his administration need to stop traumatizing children and families. We have a responsibility to protect families fleeing violence and poverty, no matter who they are, or where they come from,” said End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin’s Executive Director, Patti Seger.
 
Although President Trump’s Executive Order ended the practice of separating children from their families, it did not end the jailing of children and families at the border. Based on a 1997 Supreme Court ruling, families cannot be detained together for more than 20 days. The Executive Order did not address this ruling, meaning that children could still be separated from their families after 20 days.  Additionally, the over 2,000 children separated from their families since the practice began were notably absent from the President’s order. 
Featured Image for Reflections from NCALL

Greetings! 

As we celebrate 2018 World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, I find myself proudly looking back on the year and on our many efforts at the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life (NCALL) to further our mission of fostering a collaborative, inclusive, survivor-centered response to abuse in later life. I want to share some of that progress with you. Over the past year, NCALL has: 

  • Supported grantees of the Office on Violence Against Women’s Abuse in Later Life grant program to train criminal justice systems professionals and victim services providers and other professionals, to create or enhance a coordinated community response to abuse in later life, and to provide effective victim services to older survivors in their local communities.
  • Collaborated with the VERA Institute of Justice’s Center on Victimization and Safety, the Office for Victims of Crime, and many other project partners to help to co-create the new National Center for Reaching Victims (Center). The aim of the Center is to enhance services and resources for older survivors and other underserved populations of crime victims.
  • Elevated the voices of older victims through our Lifting Up Voices of Older Survivors video project. Through this project, we will create educational videos for professionals and community members. The videos will focus the lived experiences of older victims and help build the capacity of a range of professionals, who work with older victims of abuse.

I am excited about the work we have done at NCALL and where we can go in the years to come through hard work, partnership, and with an unwavering focus on centering older victims who live at the margins of the margins.

 Author and social critic, James Baldwin, once said of the struggle for dignity, equality, and racial justice: 

“One can give nothing whatever without giving of oneself – that is to say, risking oneself. If one cannot risk oneself, then one is simply incapable of giving. And, after all, one can give freedom by setting someone free.”

In an increasing challenging environment, we, as a field, must ask the critical question of what we can give of ourselves to older victims who live a daily struggle for dignity and justice. Communities of color, immigrants and refugees, LGBTQ individuals, people with disabilities, and many other historically marginalized individuals encounter increasing and compounding oppression and xenophobia, we must fix our vision and our efforts on doing all that we can to advance the cause of justice for all older victims, especially those who are the most marginalized.

As we continue to labor in service of our vision of a society which respects all older adults, we must constantly inquire and analyze what we are risking, what more we can risk, and for whom we must risk more in the quest for a world where all forms of oppression are dismantled and older victims from all communities live free from abuse. Each day we do our work, NCALL joins with those who are answering this call for critical analysis. 

On this World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, I offer my commitment to continuing to push for the dignity of older victims and the concurrent and the inextricably related struggle for equity and justice. I also offer NCALL’s unwavering support for those working on behalf of older victims and for a vision of a better future for all.

In solidarity,
Juanita & the NCALL team

Juanita Davis, J.D., is a Program Manager for the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life, a project of End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin

Learn more about NCALL's work at www.ncall.us

Featured Image for Advocates Denounce A.G.’s Rollback of Domestic Violence Victim Asylum Protections

Madison—Yesterday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions chose to limit asylum protections for domestic violence victims fleeing other countries. To do so, he personally intervened and overturned the decision of immigration law judges. Joining advocates for domestic violence victims around the country, Patti Seger, executive director of End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin, condemned the attorney general’s move and issued the following statement:

“Our grief is mixed with anger because Attorney General Sessions’ order will have life and death consequences for victims and children who have experienced horrendous acts of violence. Sadly, the decision is all too consistent with the extreme callousness this administration has shown to victims and vulnerable people from other countries. We urge communities around Wisconsin and across the nation to reject these uncompassionate and often inhumane attitudes. We should be better than this.”

The ruling does not definitively prevent all domestic violence survivors from seeking asylum. However for many victims, Attorney General Sessions’ decision effectively creates insurmountable barriers to safety. End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin urges immigration judges to recognize the deadly situations facing domestic violence victims who are seeking asylum, to the greatest extent legally possible.

Featured Image for NEW End Abuse Summer 2018 Civic Engagement Training Series for Survivors, Advocates, & Service Providers

End Abuse is excited to announce our new civic engagement training series taking place over the summer of 2018! Four trainings will be held throughout the state, and are designed exclusively for survivors, advocates, and service providers who work with survivors. 

Led by our Public Policy Coordinator Chase Tarrier and our Policy and Systems Analyst Adrienne Roach, these spaces will allow participants to connect lived experience and passion for social justice with public policy and social change. The trainings will provide opportunities to learn how civic engagement can allow individuals to play more active roles and make broader impacts in their communities.

Trainings will include: 

  • Critical information about voter registration and confidential voting options.
  • Insight into the legislative process and lobbying rules for non-profit organizations.
  • A space to learn about public policy and connect your values to policies and issues such as affordable housing and preventing homelessness, child safety and well-being, economic security, domestic abuse prevention and education, criminal justice reform, safe schools and communities, and social safety-net supports, among other hot button issues. 
  • Opportunities to learn and practice effective strategies to engage decision-makers and elected officials, to fine-tune your position, and make your voice heard, loud and clear!

Training dates and locations are listed below. As the summer heats up, so will the civic engagement efforts of Wisconsin service providers, advocates, and survivors!

 

To register for any of these trainings, visit https://bit.ly/EndAbuseCET18


*Please register by the specified dates below to ensure that we can accommodate your needs. Feel free to share this information with other advocates and survivors who may be interested in the training!

*Please Note: Participants are responsible for all expenses incurred to attend this training. End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin does not have additional funding to reimburse for travel, hotel stay, or food. However, this training is provided free of charge to advocates, service providers, and domestic abuse survivors. 

Featured Image for Newly Revised Children & Youth Manual Builds Knowledge & Skills for Youth Advocacy
After two years of careful revisions, the updated Children & Youth Manual is now available through the End Domestic Abuse WI website at http://www.endabusewi.org//engaging-youth

This important tool increases the knowledge and skills needed for informed youth advocacy while building a relationship between advocates and their supervisors. It includes resources to connect with End Abuse staff and to continue education on various topics, including mandatory reporting, ACE's, resilience, and age-appropriate support groups and presentations.

Special thanks to our Children and Youth Prevention & Outreach Coordinator Cody Warner and all of the incredible advocates who helped revise the manual by bringing dedication and expertise to this resource that will help advocates all over Wisconsin.
Featured Image for 2017 – 2018 State Legislative Session Recap

When the State Senate adjourned on March 20, the 2017 to 2018 Regular Session of the Wisconsin Legislature came to a conclusion. A number of End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin’s legislative priorities were enacted; a few others did not make it. Likewise, our coalition successfully opposed several bills that would have negatively impacted survivors in Wisconsin, but a number of concerning bills were signed into law despite our objections. The following is a review of some of the legislative proposals that the End Abuse Policy Team took action on this legislative session.

Beginning of Session Presented Funding Challenges

The session began as usual with the introduction of the Governor’s biennial budget, an extensive piece of legislation that, after extensive review and redrafting by the legislature, determines the fiscal makeup of the state every two years. Upon analysis, the End Abuse policy team focused its efforts on several key budgetary issues in particular. The first point of concern was a proposed cut of $2.9 million to the Emergency Assistance (EA) program, which disseminates federal dollars to low-income families in times of crisis to help them avoid homelessness. Despite the concerns we raised about the possible impact this cut would have on victims and their children taking steps to leave an abuser, the final version of the budget included this reduction in EA funding.

On a more positive note, End Abuse and other allied organizations successfully defeated a budget motion that would have tied FoodShare eligibility to child support compliance. Tying public benefits eligibility to child support compliance forces victims into increased contact with abusers and allows batterers to more easily use children as a tool of control, so defeating this proposed change to state law was a positive step for the safety of survivors and their kids.

Important Gains for Survivor Safety and Independence

Despite facing a challenging budget process, End Abuse supported a number of important proposals this session that were passed into law and will improve the safety and autonomy of Wisconsin survivors. Assembly Bill 581 (AB 581), which passed out the State Senate just before the end of the session, institutes a change to state law pertaining to venue for restraining orders. Grounded in the story of several domestic violence homicide victims who were also themselves domestic violence program employees, AB 581 offers additional protections for survivors who also work in the domestic violence advocacy or a related field. Under the new state law, specific categories of victims who lack anonymity in the court system due to the nature of their work will now be able to seek out a restraining order in a different county than the one they reside in. By allowing this particular group of victims to maintain their privacy while seeking out legal protections, we hope that victims who also work in the field will have the tools they need to stay safe.

Assembly Bill 451 (AB 451) also passed into law this session and ensures that Canadian victims of domestic violence living or residing in Wisconsin will have their protective orders recognized by our state's courts and law enforcement agencies. This new law will bring our state in line with the Canadian justice system, which already recognizes the validity of Wisconsin protective orders.

Finally, Assembly Bill 865 (AB 865) also passed into law this session, instituting several important changes to the Safe at Home program which ensures that the location of victims of domestic violence, harassment, stalking and other crimes remain protected from their abusers. These changes clarify several unanswered administrative questions for the Department of Justice (DOJ) and ensure that all the identifying information of people enrolled in the program remains protected, an important step towards increased safety for victims and their kids.

End Abuse Successfully Opposed Several Bills that Would Endanger Victims

In addition to supporting several bills that expanded safety for survivors and their children, End Abuse also weighed in on legislation that presented a danger to survivor safety, encouraging legislators not to support proposals that risked isolating victims further and putting them into increased contact with abusers. One of these bills was Assembly Bill 190 (AB 190), which represented an especially serious threat to the safety and well-being of immigrant and undocumented victims of abuse. AB 190, if passed, would have prohibited local law enforcement agencies from stating openly that they would not inquire about the immigration status of people with whom they come into contact during their work. For immigrant and undocumented survivors to feel safe contacting law enforcement and seeking out available legal protections, it is imperative that they are not given reason to believe that seeking help will lead to possible deportation and separation from their children. When policies like AB 190 are implemented, batterers are able to capitalize on the increased fear of ICE and deportation that their victims feel and use it to maintain and expand their control, increasing the chances that they will continue their violent behavior unimpeded. It is vital that immigrant and undocumented victims of crime feel safe and empowered to reach out to law enforcement when they are in danger. Stopping AB 190 from passing was an important step towards this goal.

Another bill that presented a risk to survivor safety was Assembly Bill 849 (AB 849), which would have created a presumption that equal placement is in the best interest of the child in contested family law cases, an extreme departure from current statute which directs courts to focus on the best interest of the child in general. This bill has been proposed in many past legislative session and End Abuse has been a key organization involved in opposing it each time it is re-introduced. A presumption of equalized placement would only apply to a small percentage of cases that are far more likely to involve some form of family violence. Academic researchers have shown in numerous studies that 40–80 percent of contested custody cases involve intimate partner violence. To protect families and children, we want courts to be engaged and to strive to do their best by children and parents, not saddled with a rigid formula. Additionally, mandating that all parents, including abusive parents, be presumed fit for 50 percent placement is extremely dangerous. Equalized placement gives abusers the opportunity and means to continue to harass, threaten, monitor, stalk and emotionally and physically abuse their victims. For all of these reasons and more, it is a positive sign that members of the legislature once again refused to pass this harmful legislation.

Similarly, End Abuse was pleased to see that Assembly Bill 759 (AB 759), which would exempt predatory lenders from Wisconsin consumer protection laws, did not garner enough support in the legislature to pass into law this session. Nearly every case of domestic violence entails some form of financial control, which means that survivors taking steps to leave an abuser are often economically disenfranchised and desperate for financial assistance. The fact that survivors are often so financially isolated makes them perfect targets in the eyes of predatory lenders like ‘rent-to-own’ companies. Exempting these lenders from consumer protection laws would make it easier for vulnerable survivors to be taken advantage of while seeking independence from abuse. The End Abuse policy team raised these concerns to the legislature and was pleased to see they decided not to pass this dangerous legislation.

Despite End Abuse’s Objections, Several Bills Passed into Law that Will Negatively Impact Survivors

Unfortunately, a number of bills that End Abuse opposed because of their potential negative impact on survivors’ ability to stay safe passed into law this session. As we approach the next legislative session, the End Abuse policy team will continue to highlight these misguided proposals with the hopes that they can be amended or undone in the future. One such new law is Assembly 771 (AB 771), a bill that made sweeping changes to state law as it applies to landlord/tenant relations. Generally, this bill was one more example of an ongoing trend in the Wisconsin legislature to erode tenants’ rights in favor of increased landlord control. Because housing access is a top barrier that stops survivors from taking steps to leave an abuser, legislation that limits the rights of renters poses a grave threat to the future safety of Wisconsin victims of domestic violence. In particular, End Abuse opposed this bill because it limits the number of days courts can stay eviction proceedings while a tenant is applying for Emergency Assistance (a program that helps low-income families avoid homelessness during times of crisis). Because of the passage of this bill, more survivors in our state will be forced into the impossible choice between homelessness and returning to a violent abuser. Moving forward, End Abuse will continue to bring attention to this issue and encourage our legislators to expand, not limit, affordable housing access for survivors and other vulnerable populations in our state. 

Near the end of the regular 2017-18 legislative session, Governor Walker called for a special session in the legislature to address public benefit ‘reform.’ This special session process allowed a small group legislators to quickly introduce a package of ten separate bills, most of which were aimed at restricting access to critical social safety net programs that survivors often rely on to stay safe. Of the ten proposals introduced, End Abuse was officially opposed to six, five of which were passed into law. The five new laws passed are the following:

AB/SB 1 – This bill increases the FoodShare Employment Training (FSET) hourly requirement to maintain eligibility for FoodShare from 20 hours to 30 hours per week. This change means survivors who are already struggling to make ends meet will now be forced to spend more time each week complying with FSET program requirements just to maintain access to food.

AB/SB 2 – This law expands eligibility requirements for FSET to include parents, who were excluded from the requirement up to this point. Survivors who are relying on FoodShare to feed themselves and their children will now also be forced to comply with increased work requirements to continue utilizing the program.

AB/SB 3 – Because survivors so often experience financial control and abuse, they are unlikely to have access to resources like bank accounts, good credit, loan opportunities, financial control of their vehicles and decision making authority regarding property. It is for this reason that AB/SB 3, which increases asset restrictions for public benefit eligibility, is so dangerous for survivors. Now that this law has passed, many survivors who may appear to have access to certain financial resources on paper will lose their eligibility for programs like FoodShare, despite the fact that they have no real financial autonomy or access to financial security.

AB/SB 4 – This law requires local public housing authorities to preform employment screenings for public housing applicants, making it more likely that survivors who may be struggling to find or maintain employment because the trauma they have experienced will be turned away. While there is a technical exemption for victims of domestic violence in the law, fear of reporting the abuse or a desire not to disclose their status as a victim of domestic violence will lead to survivors being screened out of housing access for reasons related to the abuse they have experienced.  

AB/SB 8 – This law, which ties child support compliance to Medicaid eligibility, poses a grave threat to survivors who more often than not become the primary guardian of their children regardless of the possible child support order specifications that would say otherwise. The passage of this bill increases the chances that survivors will be forced into contact with abusers to ensure compliance with child support orders, as well as the likelihood that survivors will lose their healthcare because of the actions of their abuser.

The End Abuse policy team continues to push for expanded access to public benefits like housing, FoodShare, affordable healthcare, childcare and more because we recognize the importance of these services for survivor safety. A strong social safety net is critical to assist survivors in empowering themselves to achieve independence and autonomy apart from their abusers. In the coming months, End Abuse will continue to educate our legislators on the intersection of public assistance programs and domestic violence in an effort to encourage them to rethink these misguided proposals next session.

Bills End Abuse Supported that Did Not Pass This Session

While End Abuse was happy to see several important proposals to improve survivor safety and autonomy pass this session, there were other legislative priorities that unfortunately, did not become law. One of these proposals was Assembly Bill 831 (AB 831), also known as the Teen Dating Violence Prevention Bill. This proposal would have instituted teen dating violence prevention curricula in all Wisconsin middle and high schools, in addition to requiring that schools have a stated policy governing their response to dating violence and regularly train staff on that policy. Despite the bill receiving bi-partisan support this session, there was enough opposition to any increased teaching requirements for schools without new funding that the legislature opted not to pass this important step forward for domestic violence prevention. This bill will once again be a top priority for End Abuse in the next legislative session.

Likewise, we plan to once again support next session’s version of Assembly Bill 186 (AB 186), also known as the Protecting Victims of Child Sex Trafficking Act. This important legislation prohibits law enforcement from charging minors with prostitution, an important step towards recognizing that trafficking survivors are victims and not criminals. While there was more support than ever for this bill which would bring a more trauma-informed focus to our criminal justice system, there remained enough opposition to stop the bill from full passage. Hopefully, through increased education of state legislators during the non-voting months, this bill pass into law next session with strong bi-partisan support.      

End Abuse also supported Assembly Bill 74 (AB 74), which would reinstate the 48 hour waiting period for firearm purchases. The two day waiting period existed until the 2015-16 session at which time it was repealed from our state statutes. It is critical that this waiting period be reestablished in Wisconsin state law to ensure an additional level of protection for victims who are far more likely to be killed by their abusers when they have easy access to a gun, as well as individuals contemplating suicide.  

Another firearm related bill that End Abuse supported was Assembly bill 587 (AB 597) which would bring Wisconsin state law in line with federal law by prohibiting firearm possession for misdemeanor level domestic violence offenders. While this proposal did not pass this session, we look forward to encouraging our legislators to take common sense steps toward increased firearm safety next session, starting with universal background checks on all gun sales.

Forward!

Next session, the End Abuse Policy Team will continue to work closely with legislators from both parties, encouraging our elected leaders to recognize and prioritize the experience of Wisconsin survivors in their legislative work. If you are interested in being a part of End Abuse's policy efforts, subscribe to our action alerts for regular updates and opportunities to get involved in the legislative process. 

For more information on End Abuse’s policy work, feel free to reach out to Chase Tarrier, Public Policy Coordinator, at chaset@endabusewi.org.
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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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.