State News

Bill would extend protections for victims of domestic abuse across country lines

Promoting Awareness Victim Empowerment, or PAVE, supports legislation that would extend understanding to include protection orders issued in Canada.

Image By: Jon Yoon

A bill that would aim to protect victims of domestic abuse by enforcing civil domestic violence protections issued by Canadian courts received a state Senate committee hearing Thursday.

Senate Bill 369, otherwise known as the Uniform Recognition and Enforcement of Canadian Domestic Violence Protection Orders Act, has been adopted by four other states including California, Delaware, North Dakota and Nevada.

Under current law, protection orders for victims of domestic violence in one state are upheld in other states. The bill would extend this understanding to include protection orders issued in Canada.

State Rep. Ron Tusler, R-Harrison, sponsored the Assembly version of the bill along with another piece of legislation involving protections for victims of domestic abuse. Tusler testified on behalf of SB 369 during a public hearing.

“I have represented victims of domestic violence and seen first-hand the effects domestic violence can have on the victims and their families,” Tusler said in his statement. “This bill, if passed, could save someone’s life at a critical moment.”

Currently, Canada recognizes U.S. and Wisconsin domestic violence protection orders, however, there is no legislation under state law that explicitly allows for the law enforcement authorities or state courts to recognize and enforce Canadian court orders.

If passed, this bill would establish explicit rules and treat Canadian court orders as if they were issued under Wisconsin law and allow full recognition of such domestic violence protection orders throughout Wisconsin.

“Let us, as a growing number of our sister states have done, reciprocate in the spirit of comity, protect all victims of domestic violence and support adoption of this Act,” Tusler said.

Promoting Awareness Victim Empowerment, or PAVE, a student organization on campus dedicated to the prevention of sexual assault, domestic violence, and conduct of work based on violence prevention, expressed its strong support for Senate Bill 369.

"PAVE supports Senate Bill 369, as it will offer greater protections to victims and survivors of intimate partner violence,” PAVE chair Janie Felton said. “We commend the efforts of Representative Tusler and Representative Stuck in introducing this bill during Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Survivors should be able to travel between Wisconsin and Canada without compromising their legal rights and protections in the process. Survivors have the right to feel safe and supported across borders."

Another measure related to domestic violence is slated to be formally announced in the coming weeks. The proposal would allow members of law enforcement who have been victims of domestic violence to file restraining orders reaching beyond their county of work or residency.

A hearing on both bills is set to happen within the next few weeks. 

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