If you are seeking help:
Please note that End Abuse is not a crisis hotline or agency that provides shelter, safety planning, or other direct services. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, call the 24/7 National Domestic Violence Hotline at: 800-799-7233 or find a local program that can offers support using our statewide Get Help map below.
This map contains all End Abuse member programs. We recognize that, just as domestic violence can take many forms, accessing help and healing may take various forms. While not all agencies on our Get Help map provide 24/7 crisis intervention services, programs that offer crisis intervention list 24 Hour Crisis or help line under the services they provide.
Select the region in which you live to find help & support close to you.
Printable Map of WI Domestic Violence Programs
For a printable map of domestic violence programs and their phone numbers by county, click here.
In addition to the non-exhaustive list of culturally and community specific organizations below, We Are Here Mke is a diverse collective of culturally sensitive resources throughout Milwaukee, offering inclusive, welcoming, nonjudgmental support. Visit WeAreHereMKE.org for more information.
Black & Brown Communities
The Deaf Community
People with Disabilities
- Deaf Unity: provides services to and advocates for Deaf victims of abuse
- National Deaf Domestic Violence Hotline: 24/7, confidential, and free: 855-812-1001. Has advocates available for crisis intervention, education, information and referrals for Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled callers.
- UNIDOS WI: provides direct service in Dane and surrounding counties, as well as statewide education and technical assistance to colleagues and professionals who wish to improve their services to the Latinx community inWI.
- The Network/La RED: 24 hour bilingual hotline for those experiencing violence. Survivor-led social justice organization that works to end partner abuse in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, SM, polyamorous, and queer communities.
Share in community with other QTBIPOC (queer, trans, black indigenous, other people of color) and LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer+) folks in this time of COVID-19. All community members (regardless if you identify as a survivor or not) are welcome to join in supporting each other and strengthening our social bonds.
- Trans Lifeline: Trans-led organization that connects trans people to the community, support, and resources they need to survive and thrive: 877-565-8860
Wisconsin Batterers Treatment Providers Association
For a printable list of WI Tribal Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, & Dual Agencies, click here.
For a printable map of these agencies, click here.
The Wisconsin Batterers Treatment Provider Association (WBTPA) was formed to oversee the ongoing development and implementation of the State of Wisconsin Male Batterers Treatment Standards. These standards have been developed in collaboration with the membership of the WBTPA and the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, and have been endorsed by the Wisconsin Governor’s Council on Domestic Abuse. These standards address primary treatment approaches and practices currently recognized as the most appropriate treatment for male domestic violence abusers.
For more information and a list of the most up-to-date WBTPA providers, visit www.thewbtpa.com
Frequently Asked Questions About Domestic Violence
What can I do if I think I am being abused?
What is Safety Planning?
If someone is abusing you, you might feel scared, hurt, sad, confused, angry, embarrassed, or hopeless.
Many people have feelings like these when they are being abused or after leaving an abusive relationship. Help is available. Talk with someone you trust or call your local domestic/sexual abuse hotline and talk with someone without having to give your name or location. To find the nearest domestic abuse hotline in WI, click HERE. If you do not live in WI, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1- 800-799-SAFE or 1-800-799-7233.
Click here for information on Making the Decision to Talk With Someone About Being Abused (PDF 212KB)
How can I help someone?
When domestic violence homicide occurs in your community
When you are scared, it’s harder to think clearly and quickly.
You can make a list now, of things you might need and things you could do to be safer. You can use your plan when you don’t feel safe.
National DV Hotline:
Click Here for Safety Plan
National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life:
Click Here for Safety Plan
What to Expect From a Domestic Violence Program
We are moved by the passion and commitment of program directors and advocates in Wisconsin who work daily to end violence. Perhaps never is this more profoundly evident than when a life has been taken by violence. During this time of crisis domestic violence and sexual violence programs are asked to fulfill a variety of roles, and at the same time are often dealing with their own sense of loss. End Abuse facilitates connections with programs in Wisconsin prior to and in the wake of a domestic violence homicide. Our Homicide Response Plan (PDF 466KB) provides a framework for domestic violence programs and their community partners to guide how they will collectively respond to domestic violence-related homicide incidents.
Rainbow House, a Domestic Violence Shelter serving a three-county area in Northeast Wisconsin, created HOPE: Domestic Violence Homicide Help to help family members cope with the complexities of domestic violence homicide.
What is predictable must also be preventable. Extensive research into domestic violence homicides has revealed certain indicators that are more predictive of experiencing future lethal or near-lethal domestic violence. Visit our Homicide Prevention page to learn more.
Everyone fights sometimes. How can I tell a fight from abuse?
What to expect if you call a program:
- A caring listening ear. All programs have people who can listen and help you sort out options.
- Advocacy services. Most programs have specially trained advocates who can help with welfare, CPS, disability services, immigration, housing, employment protections, and more.
- Emergency shelter. Many programs offer shelter or safe homes.
- Transitional housing. Some programs have longer term housing for survivors.
- Support groups. Some programs run groups for children, youth and adults.
- Legal advocacy. Most programs offer information about protection orders and other civil matters. Most do not provide legal counsel, but can refer you to free or low cost attorneys.
- Crisis services. Many programs offer 24-hour crisis services.
What to expect if you go to an emergency shelter:
- Shelters are free — no fees are charged to stay. Many shelters have time limits for how long you can stay.
- Most shelters have shared kitchens, common areas, and bathrooms. Shelters provide the food but if you have special dietary concerns (i.e., gluten-free, allergies), you should let the staff know.
- If you have children, you will probably all share one bedroom.
- If you are alone, you may have to share a room.
- You are responsible for taking care of your own children.
- All shelters must welcome service animals.
- However, most shelters cannot accommodate pets. Many will work with you to make arrangements to have your pets cared for elsewhere.
- Shelters have laundry facilities and supply linens (sheets, towels and blankets).
- Many have emergency clothing and toiletries available for the first few days of a stay.
- You will be asked to honor the privacy of other residents by not discussing their names or situations with anyone else.
- Shelters are concerned about everybody’s safety, so you may be asked to keep the location a secret.
- Visitors are generally not allowed.
- Shelters can be stressful—you will be in a group living situation with others who are experiencing tough times too!
Does anger cause abuse?
Disagreements occur in most relationships. Sometimes those arguments are loud and people say things that hurt each other’s feelings. However, in most relationships, adults say they are sorry and make up. No one gets physically hurt. When there is abuse, one person uses power and control to get what they want out of the relationship. There may or may not be physical abuse in the relationship, but the threat of harm is present. The person with the power uses many tactics to maintain their control in the relationship, including emotional and psychological abuse, threats of physical violence or abandonment, isolating the individual from family and friends, limiting the victim’s use of phone, breaking assistive devices and denying health care. Individuals who use power and control tactics in a relationship can be very persuasive, often trying to convince family, friends and professionals that they are only trying to help. Abusive individuals rarely take any responsibility for their inappropriate behavior.
Does mental illness cause abuse?
Anger is a normal and healthy emotion and does not cause abuse. Even though abusers can be angry at times, abuse happens when an individual chooses manipulative, threatening or physically violent behavior to gain power and control over another individual. Abusive tactics may occur without any anger evident in the abuser.
Is abuse caused by stress?
Some mental illnesses may have challenging or violent behaviors as one of their symptoms. Contact a mental health expert or doctor to find out more information about specific mental illnesses and combinations of medications to learn if violent behavior is likely or possible. Keep in mind that some abusers have used mental illness as an excuse to continue with their abusive behavior.
Is abuse caused by a medical condition or combination of medications?
While stress is a commonly used rationale for abuse, stress does not cause abuse. Everyone experiences stress. Most stressed people do not hurt others. Most abusers under stress do not hit their bosses or law enforcement officers. They choose victims (such as family members) who have less power. At times providing care for an ill or frail elderly person can be stressful. Some abusers suggest that their negative behavior is due to caregiver stress because they are overwhelmed by the demands of providing care. Research does not support caregiver stress as a primary cause of elder abuse but rather an excuse used by abusers so they can continue their behavior without consequences such as intervention by social services or law enforcement.
Does elder abuse occur because a victim of child abuse grows up and then abusers his/her parent(s)?
Some medical conditions or combinations of medications may cause a normally gentle person to become violent. Contact a doctor or health care provider to determine if the person has a medical condition and if aggressive behavior is related to the condition. Keep in mind that abusers may use a medical condition as an excuse for their behavior, so a medical opinion is important.
Does drug and/or alcohol abuse cause the violence and abuse?
Abusive parents can unknowingly teach children that abuse is an effective way to control another individual. Abusive behavior is a choice. Individuals who grew up with abuse can choose to behave abusively or they can choose to stop the pattern of violence that may be all too familiar for them. Many adults who were victims of child abuse or witnessed domestic violence growing up, have healthy, happy adult relationships and do not hurt their children, spouse/partners or parents. Some individuals who are abused as children experience emotional problems and/or mental illness as adults. This may require specific treatment to deal with the effects of their victimization; however, this is not an excuse for someone to continue abusive behavior.
How does domestic abuse affect a victim's health?
Many people use drugs and/or alcohol and are never abusive. Drugs and alcohol do not cause abuse or violence, however, the violence may intensify when using drugs or alcohol. Sometimes abusers will use drugs and/or alcohol as an excuse for their behavior. Abusers who are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol have two separate problems – abusive behavior and substance abuse. Drug and alcohol treatment programs are designed to help an individual stay sober, not to eliminate the abusive behavior.
Domestic abuse is rarely a one-time event; it usually gets worse and happens more often. The damage to victims is real. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women in the United States. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, men batter close to one million women a year. Untold numbers of women suffer permanent injuries—brain damage, blindness, deafness, speech loss through damage to the larynx, disfigurement and mutilation, damage to or loss of internal organs, paralysis, sterility, and so on.
Women who are victims of domestic violence are more likely to attempt suicide, suffer from depression, anxiety, general chronic pain, headaches, gastrointestinal disorders, arthritis, and stomach ulcers. Many pregnant women miscarry as a result of beatings; and many birth defects are caused by assault on the mother during pregnancy. Many women have been infected with HIV by batterers who force them into unprotected sex. And every day in 1998, five women died violently at the hands of men who claimed to love them—accounting for one-third of all women murdered that year.