What if the abuser violates the order?
Intentionally violating an injunction is against the law. There are two ways to get help if the abuser violates the injunction – through the criminal court and the civil court.
Through the Police or Sheriff
If the abuser violates the injunction, you can call 911 immediately. In some cases, the abuser can be arrested right away.1 Tell the officers you have a restraining order and the abuser is violating it.
It is a good idea to write down the name of the responding officers and their badge number in case you want to follow up on your case. Make sure a police report is filled out. If you have legal documentation of all violations of the order, it could help you if you ever want to have the order extended or modified.
If the abuser is arrested, then the district attorney can prosecute the abuser because it is a crime to violate an injunction. If s/he is found guilty of a violation of a restraining order, the abuser may be fined and/or put in jail.
Through the Civil Court System
You may file for “civil contempt” for a violation of the order. The abuser can be held in civil contempt if s/he does anything that your injunction tells him/her not to do. To file for civil contempt, go to the clerk’s office and tell him/her that your abuser has violated the injunction and you want to file for civil contempt. A finding of civil contempt can result in a fine or jail time for the abuser.2
Note: If the abuser violates the order and the police do not make an arrest or charge the abuser with a violation of a court order, you can contact the Wisconsin Office of Crime Victim Services if you feel the police did not take appropriate action. You might also want to get the help of a domestic violence advocate who may be able to help advocate with the police or the district attorney on your behalf.
1 Wis. Stat. § 813.12(7)(am)
2 Wis. Stat. § 785.04(1)