How restraining orders impact cases of domestic violence

Legal experts say restraining orders don't guarantee safety.
Legal experts say restraining orders don't guarantee safety.(WEAU)
Published: Jan. 18, 2023 at 6:11 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The Chippewa County District Attorney said the victim of a Chippewa Falls shooting on Saturday, filed a restraining order against the suspect, Joshua Moggo, two weeks before the shooting.

Jeni H., Domestic Violence Program director at Family Support Center, said this isn’t the only case of restraining order violations in the region.

“50% of them in Wisconsin are violated,” H. said.

H. did state that restraining orders do provide legal protection for victims of domestic violence.

“The purpose of a domestic violence restraining order of any restraining order really is to have legal grounds to say, you can’t contact me, you can’t hurt me,” H. said. “It absolutely offers protection and I do not ever want people to think they shouldn’t get a restraining order. But it is not a magic wand. There could be risks for people to obtain a restraining order that actually makes it scarier, harder, worse if the abusive person isn’t going to respect the restraining order.”

Bronson Stein, legal advocate at Bolton Refugee House, also said it’s important to understand that restraining order’s have limitations.

“At the end of the day, a restraining order is a piece of paper, right? So it’s not going to necessarily protect you from all harm,” Stein said.

Violated orders can be pursued legally, but injunctions also don’t guarantee safety.

“When it’s violated, they report, they’re told that the D.A. is not charging or law enforcement’s not going to send it up, you know, X, Y, Z. They get discouraged and the abuser feels enabled. And it creates this dynamic where all of a sudden the victim is now saying, well, now I’m afraid again,” Stein said.

Advocates encourage people to believe and support victims of abuse.

“We have all of these, we as a society have all of these things that we tell survivors what they should do to stay safe. And at the end of the day, what keeps survivors safe is people believing them,” H. said.

Advocates also recommend that people considering a restraining order put other safety plans in place, such as seeking shelter and support groups. The Bolton Refuge House and Family Support Center are two resources in the Chippewa Valley for those impacted by domestic violence.