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Defining domestic abuse in Wisconsin

Domestic abuse is a term that is used broadly to identify violence between spouses and children, but there are more specific terms used under the law. While allegations of domestic abuse should always be taken seriously, there are always two sides to every story, and no individual should be considered guilty before he or she has a chance to tell his or her side.

Legal definition

In Wisconsin, domestic abuse can involve any of the following:

  • Stalking
  • Sexual assaults
  • Intentional causing of illness, physical injury or physical pain
  • Intentional harming of physical condition
  • Destruction of personal property
  • Threatening any of the above behaviors

If domestic abuse is an issue between two people, then a domestic abuse injunction may function as a temporary restraining order to minimize violence and prevent contact between the accuser and the accused.

In Wisconsin, there are no specific laws that prohibit domestic violence, although the behaviors can fall under statutes such as kidnapping, homicide, battery and sexual assault to prosecute certain situations that involve domestic violence. The only difference in using these statutes for domestic violence situations is that both parties have an intimate or family relationship.

Warning signs of domestic violence

Tensions often run high in a marriage or relationship, and both parties can quickly escalate out of control. Both men and women can be victims and perpetrators of domestic violence, and knowing these signs may help get the situation under control quickly:

  • You can never do anything right for your partner.
  • Your time with family and friends is limited by your partner.
  • You are prevented from making your own decisions.
  • Knives, guns or other weapons are used for intimidation.
  • Threats to hurt pets or destroy property are common.
  • Pressure is applied to use alcohol or drugs, or to have sex when you are uncomfortable doing so.

It is important that men and women alike know what to watch for in a relationship they believe may be abusive.

There is no bias when it comes to age, sexual orientation, race, gender or religion when it comes to domestic violence or abuse. The couple doesn't have to be married to be in an abusive situation, and violence happens in all types of socioeconomic backgrounds.

What to do

If you have been accused of domestic violence and feel that you have been treated unfairly or have not had a chance to tell your story, you should consult an attorney immediately to make sure your rights are protected.

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