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Legal Information: Wisconsin

Restraining Orders

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Laws current as of December 14, 2023

What is an individual at risk restraining order?

If you are what the law considers an “individual at risk,” this restraining order can protect you from a person who:

  • interfered with or, based on prior behavior, may interfere with the delivery of protective services, protective placement, delivery of services, or an investigation and that interference, if continued, would make it difficult to determine whether abuse has occurred, will occur, or is occurring;
  • has abused, financial exploited, neglected, harassed, or stalked you; or
  • mistreated your animal.1

1 Wis. Stat. § 813.123(4)(a)

Who is considered an "individual at risk" or an "elder adult at risk"?

An “individual at risk” is any adult who:

  • has a physical or mental condition that substantially (significantly) impairs his/her ability to care for his/her needs; and
  • is experiencing, has experienced, or is at risk of experiencing abuse, neglect, self-neglect, or financial exploitation.1

An individual at risk is also referred to as an “adult at risk.”

An “elder adult at risk” is any person 60 years of age or older who is experiencing, has experienced or is at risk of experiencing abuse, neglect, self-neglect, or financial exploitation.2Note: Elder adults at risk are allowed to participate in hearings by telephone or through an internet streaming service,3 such as Zoom.

1 Wis. Stat. § 813.123(1)
2 Wis. Stat. § 46.90(1)(br)
3 Wis. Stat. § 813.123(6g)

What is the legal definition of “abuse” of individuals at risk in Wisconsin?

For the purposes of getting an individual at risk restraining order, “abuse” includes:

  • physical abuse
  • emotional abuse
  • sexual abuse
  • treatment without consent (for example: giving the individual at risk medication without informed consent or doing experimental research without informed consent)
  • intentional confinement or restraint
  • financial exploitation
  • neglect
  • self-neglect 1

1 Wis. Stat. § 813.123(1)

What protections can I get in an individual at risk restraining order?

An temporary individual at risk restraining order or a final injunction can order the abuser to:

  • avoid interference with an investigation of the individual at risk, the delivery of protective services to or protective placement of the individual at risk;
  • stop engaging in or threatening to engage in the abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, harassment, or stalking of an individual at risk or the mistreatment of an animal;
  • not remove, hide, damage, harm, mistreat, or dispose of a household pet and allow the individual at risk or a guardian, guardian ad litem, or family/household member to retrieve (get) the household pet;
  • stay away from the residence of the individual at risk or any other location temporarily occupied by the individual at risk, or both;
  • avoid contacting or causing any person other than a party’s attorney or a law enforcement officer to contact the individual at risk; and
  • any other appropriate remedy not inconsistent with the remedies requested in the petition.1
  • Note: If you request it, as part of a final injunction, the judge can order a wireless telephone provider to transfer to you the right to use (and responsibility to pay for) any telephone number that you use or that a minor child in your care uses.2

1 Wis. Stat. § 813.123(4)(ar),(5)(ar)
2 Wis. Stat. § 813.123(5c)

Who is eligible to file for an individual at risk restraining order?

An individual at risk, a social service worker, law enforcement personnel, parents, adult siblings, adult children, legal guardians of adults at risk, and county protective service agencies can file for this restraining order.