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Know the Laws: Wisconsin

UPDATED April 11, 2016

Harassment Restraining Order

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An order designed to stop harassment from anyone harassing you, regardless of your relationship to the person.

Basic information

back to topWhat are harassment restraining orders?

If you do not qualify for a domestic abuse restraining order due to your relationship with the abuser or due to the type of abuse you experienced, you may be eligible for a harassment restraining order.

Harassment restraining orders are designed to protect you from people engaging in intentionally aggressive, harassing or intimidating behavior if the behavior serves no legitimate (valid) purpose. You may apply for a harassment restraining order regardless of your relationship to the person who is harassing you. You do not have to know the person or be related to the person.

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back to topWhat is the legal definition of harassment in Wisconsin?

To get a harassment restraining order, you must show that the respondent has harassed you in the legal sense.

The legal definition of "harassment" includes:

  • sbuse;
  • sexual assault;
  • stalking;
  • striking, shoving, kicking or otherwise subjecting another person to physical contact;
  • attempting or threatening to abuse, sexually assault, stalk, or subject another to physical contact;
  • a repeated course of conduct or series of acts which harass or intimidate another person and which serve no legitimate (valid) purpose*

* Wis. Stat. § 813.125(1)

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back to topWhat types of harassment restraining orders are there? How long do they last?

There are temporary and final harassment restraining orders (also called injunctions).  A temporary order may be granted by a judge or circuit court commissioner if s/he finds reasonable grounds to believe that the abuser has intentionally harassed or intimidated the victim.*  The temporary order lasts for 14 days or until the full court hearing.**

A final harassment restraining order or injunction, can be granted only after a full court hearing where the victim and abuser both get a chance to tell their sides of the story.  If granted, a final harassment restraining order may last for up to 4 years.***  However, there is a possibility that the injunction can last for up to 10 years if you can prove there is a substantial risk that the respondent may commit any of these crimes against you: first-degree intentional homicidesecond-degree intentional homicidesexual assault or sexual assault of a child (sections (1) or (2)).****

* Wis. Stat. § 813.125(3)(a)(1)
** Wis. Stat. § 813.125(3)(c)
*** Wis. Stat. § 813.125(4)(c)
**** Wis. Stat. § 813.125(4)(d)

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back to topHow can a harassment restraining order help me?

A harassment restraining order (injunction) can order the abuser to:

  • stop harassing you and/or
  • avoid your residence, or any place temporarily occupied by you.*

Note: A harassment injunction can also prohibit the abuser from having a gun if the judge or court commissioner who grants the order believes that the abuser may use a firearm to cause physical harm to another person or to endanger public safety.*

* Wis. Stat. § 813.125(4)(a)

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