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Protective order can protect a wide range. It can protect the person seeking the order. Still, it can include all people residing in the person’s home benefiting from the order. This protection often includes a provision to safeguard the person’s home and place of business

Stay current with Wisconsin law regarding recent changes to law related to Injunctions, specifically protective orders in Wisconsin. There have been a couple of amendments regarding protective orders for elders. There is currently some exciting legislation coming down the pipeline regarding restraining orders and domestic abuse and violence. Read on the basics of protective orders, the new changes for 2022, and learn more about the proposed bill sweeping the nation and what that means.  

What is an Injunction?  

An injunction is a court-ordered remedy to instruct a party to do something. Often an injunction restrains a party from engaging in some behavior. The most common form of an injunction is protective order. Some protective orders include restraining orders and no-contact orders. These orders are used to preserve the peace and well-being of a party.  

A protective order is one of the many forms of injunctive relief that the Courts offer. A protective order often restrains a party from interacting with another party and other people around them.    

How Long do Protective Orders Last?  

Protective orders can vary in duration depending on who they protect and what type of order it is. A temporary protective/restraining order will last until the court can have a hearing between the parties. Once the court has entered a protective order, courts can extend it as necessary. Protective orders related to domestic abuse can last up to four (4) years and ten (10) years in some extraordinary cases. Protective orders relating to child abuse can last two (2) years.    

What is Protected by a Protective/Restraining Order?  

Protective order can protect a wide range. It can protect the person seeking the order. Still, it can include all people residing in the person’s home benefiting from the order. This protection often includes a provision to safeguard the person’s home and place of business. If children are covered under a protective order, their schools are often protected.  

How do You Obtain a Protective Order?  

If some harm or threat of harm comes to you, a minor, or an elder, you can file a petition with the court to issue a temporary restraining order. Once in front of the judge, you will state the facts. The judge will decide whether a temporary order is necessary and set a date to hear from both parties. After a hearing, the judge will determine whether a protective order is genuinely needed or if another injunctive remedy is better suited for the issue.    

Now that we have covered the basics of Protective orders, it’s time to look at some of the changes for 2022.  

What are New Elder Laws for 2022?  

Wisconsin passed SB Bill 17 on August 9, 2021. It updates and amends some of the laws related to the protection of elders (any person at least 60 years of age) and the penalties regarding crimes against them. Some of the changes to elder law in Wisconsin include:  

  • Sexual assault or any sexual misconduct against an elder will now be deemed at least a Class B felony if the victim is 60 years of age, regardless of whether the perpetrator knew of the elder’s age.    
  • Creating a crime of physical abuse of an elder is similar to the current law of prohibition of physical abuse of a minor child. This law means that any person who commits physical abuse of an elder could be charged with a Class C felony for intentionally causing great bodily harm to a Class I felony for recklessly causing bodily harm.  
  • The court now has a procedure for freezing or seizing a person’s assets that have been found to have financially exploited an elder. Suppose a person commits financial exploitation of an elder, and the property is valued at more than $2500. In that case, a petition may be filed to freeze up to 100% of the amount found to be exploited of the person’s assets so that the victim may receive the appropriate restitution.    
  • This bill also increases the maximum imprisonment sentences related to crimes if it has been committed against an elder, regardless of whether a perpetrator knew that the victim was an elder.    
  • The most significant change is that any elder seeking a restraining order related to domestic violence, individual-at-risk, or harassment will be allowed to appear in court via telephone or any other audiovisual means permitted by the court.  

This bill bolsters the protection surrounding the well-being and care of elders. It provides ease of access for elders to advocate for themselves properly. Such a change is paramount as elders may have limited means to make it to court for cases where their presence is necessary.  

 What is Kayleigh’s Law?  

SB Bill 519, known as “Kayleigh’s Law,” could mean substantial changes to the length of restraining orders. While this law is not currently in place, it is up for a vote soon in the Senate.    

This bill was initially passed in Arizona in April of 2021 after Kayleigh Kozak, a survivor of childhood sexual assault, advocated to increase the duration of her restraining orders after the restraining order against her abuser ended. After the order ended, Kayleigh realized there was no further protection for her or others like her.    

Victims that suffered from abuse and harassment had no form of protection or future redress once the restraining order had lapsed, allowing the perpetrator to come back into their lives and cause future and further harm to these victims. This was an issue that Kayleigh and other advocates of surviving abuse and harassment needed to solve. “Kayleigh’s Law” does just that. Kayleigh’s law would mandate that restraining orders be permanent.    

Kayleigh would like to enact this bill statewide to advocate for the protection of those that need long-term protection from their abusers. While it has not yet been voted on, this type of legislation is exciting as it focuses on the well-being of victims in a way that provides them with peace of mind. We will be watching this bill closely to see how far it reaches and if lifetime restraining orders become an option for protection.  

You do not have to live in fear or let your loved ones suffer from abuse or harassment. Wisconsin attorneys can help you every step of the way. If you need assistance filing a protective order, please call us at (630)-324-6666 or fill out our confidential contact form. A member of our team will be in touch with you

June 13, 2022
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