En Español
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or (TTY) 1-800-787-3224

Know the Laws: Wisconsin

UPDATED April 11, 2016

Harassment Restraining Order

Print this page
View All

A harassment restraining order can be issued for victims of harassment as well as other types of abuse.  You may qualify for a harassment restraining order if you are the victim of threatened or actual unwanted physical contact, physical abuse, sexual assault, stalking, or harassment.  The order can be issued regardless of your relationship to the person.

Basic information

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

For the purposes of getting a harassment restraining order, the legal definition of "harassment" includes:

  • striking, shoving, kicking or otherwise subjecting another person to physical contact;
  • child abuse (as defined by law);
  • sexual assault;
  • stalking;
  • attempting or threatening to commit any of the above acts; and
  • repeated acts that harass or intimidate another person and which serve no legitimate (valid) purpose.*

* Wis. Stat. § 813.125(1)

Did you find this information helpful?

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)

Did you find this information helpful?

back to topHow can a harassment restraining order help me?

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

  • not have contact with you directly or indirectly (except through his/her attorney or a law enforcement officer);
  • not harass you;
  • stay away from your home and/or any place where you are temporarily living;
  • not remove, hide, damage, harm, mistreat, or get rid of a household pet; 
  • allow you or someone on your behalf to get a household pet from the home;* and
  • surrender any firearms that s/he owns or has in his/her possession to the sheriff - however, this can only be ordered in an injunction (not in a temporary order) and you must present "clear and convincing evidence" at the hearing that the abuser may use a firearm to cause physical harm to you or another person or to endanger public safety.** (However, if the abuser is a peace officer, this does not apply to any firearm that s/he is required to possess, as a condition of employment, while s/he is on or off duty.)***

Note: If you share a wireless telephone number with the abuser, you can request that the judge order the service provider to transfer to you the right to continue to use any telephone number(s) that you and/or your minor child uses (and you will have to take over payments for that account).****
 
* Wis. Stat. § 813.125(3)(a),(4)(a)
** Wis. Stat. § 813.125(4m)(a),(c)(2)
*** Wis. Stat. § 813.125(4m)(cg)
**** Wis. Stat. § 813.125(4g)

Did you find this information helpful?

back to top