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Know the Laws: Wisconsin

UPDATED October 26, 2012

Harassment Restraining Order

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

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:

  • Abuse;
  • 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?

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.***

To read the exact wording of the law, see the harassment restraining orders and injunctions section of the WI Legal Statutes.

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

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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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back to topWho is eligible to file for a harassment restraining order?

Anyone who is being physically or sexually abused, stalked, threatened, and/or harassed or intimidated repeatedly with no legitimate (valid) purpose by another person is eligible to file for a harassment order. In addition, a parent, guardian, or attorney may file on behalf of a child who was abused in one of these ways.

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back to topWhat are the steps for getting a harassment restraining order?

The steps for getting a harassment restraining order are similar to the steps involved with obtaining a domestic abuse restraining order. You can file for a harassment restraining order with the clerk at the county courthouse. Be sure to tell the clerk you need the forms to file for a harassment restraining order. See Court Forms for a list of forms that you might need.

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