Legal Advocacy

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Bolton Refuge House provides legal advocacy in Buffalo, Eau Claire, and Jackson counties. Throughout this process Bolton Refuge House strives to inform victims of their legal rights and responsibilities.  The Legal Advocate accompanies victims to hearings, assists with legal aid information and referrals, provides and explains restraining order/injunction process, provides assistance in accessing law enforcement, assists in filing for Crime Victim Rights application, and provides assistance in accessing the Victim Witness Program. Legal Advocates are available by drop in or appointments. All Victim Advocates are available for information and referrals. Bolton Refuge House, Inc. does not give legal advice. 

Our Services

These are just some of the legal advocacy services we provide. If you have any questions regarding these services, please contact us.

BRH does not provide legal advice

Court Accompaniment: As a victim, you have the right to be accompanied by a service representative. That person can be one of our advocates. We can be there for you to answer your questions and provide emotional support.

Victim Impact Statement Assistance: You have the right to provide a written or oral statement about the impact of the crime on your life to be considered at sentencing. We can help you write this statement or answer any questions you have about it. 

Restraining Order Filing: While we cannot file a restraining order for you, we can help you with filling out the paperwork and answer any questions you may have about the process. Click here to jump to the section on restraining orders.

Family Law Advocacy: We can answer questions about divorce, custody, guardianship, or other family law issues as they relate to domestic violence or sexual assault. For more information on these topics, visit End Abuse, WI's legal services page.

Victim Resources Referrals: Legal advocates can assist in accessing law enforcement, the Victim Witness program, and other resources available to victims. 

 

Restraining Orders

Overview and FAQs

This overview does not constitute legal advice, nor is it comprehensive for every scenario. For more information and resources, visit End Abuse, WI's website, the Department of Justice, or contact us!

What is A restraining Order?

According to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, "A restraining order is a court order that orders someone not to hurt you, to stay away from you, move out of the house, have no contact with you, or stop harassing you."

What is the process for getting a Restraining Order?

In Wisconsin, there are four different types of restraining orders: Domestic Abuse, Child Abuse, Individuals at Risk, and Harassment. Restraining order forms can be found at your local clerk of court's office or on the Wisconsin Circuit Court website. In most cases, getting a restraining order is a two step process: the TRO petition and an injunction hearing. For more information about each type of restraining order, and more specifics about the process, read this document put together by End Abuse, WI or contact us

Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) Petition: A TRO Petition is the first step (in most cases) to obtaining one of the four types of restraining orders. If granted, it is in place until a hearing is held on the issuance of an  injunction, unless an extension is granted. The court will set the date and time of the injunction hearing after a decision is reached on the TRO. 

Injunction Hearing: After a TRO is granted, the next step is to attend an injunction hearing. This hearing happens within 14 days of the TRO issuance, unless there is an extension granted. Injunction hearings vary, but they give the petitioner the chance to present evidence and testimony.  

Glossary

Petitioner: the person who filed the TRO petition. This person may be the victim, however that may differ depending on the type of restraining order. 

Respondent: the person against whom the TRO petition is filed. 

Extension: a 14-day extension may be granted to either extend the TRO or to push back the injunction hearing.

 
Law

Know Your Rights

Are you the victim of a crime?

Below is a list of your statutory rights as a victim, taken from the Wisconsin Department of Justice. Click here to read the entirety of the Victim's Bill of Rights. Bolton Refuge House is committed to educating victims and survivors about their rights and how to enforce them as they move through the legal system. If you have questions about your rights, please reach out.

  • To be treated with fairness, dignity and respect for your privacy.

  • To not have personal identifiers including email disclosed or used for a purpose unrelated to the official duties of an agency, employee or official.

  • To be informed of your rights and how to exercise those rights.

  • To information regarding the offender's release from custody.

  • To be notified of a decision not to prosecute if an arrest has been made.

  • To speak with (confer) the prosecutor representative upon your request, about the possible outcome of the case, potential plea agreements and sentencing options.

  • To attend court proceedings in the case.

  • To be notified of the time, date and place of upcoming court proceedings, if you so request.

  • To be provided with a waiting area separate from defense witnesses.

  • To a speedy disposition of the criminal case.

  • To have your interest considered when the court is deciding to grant a request for a delay (continuance).

  • To be notified if charges are dismissed.

  • To be accompanied to court by a service representative. This right is limited to specific types of crimes.

  • To ask for assistance with your employer if necessary, resulting from court appearances.

  • To request an order for, and to be given the results of, testing the offender for sexually transmitted diseases or HIV. This right is limited to specific types of crimes.

  • To provide a written or oral victim impact statement concerning the economic, physical and psychological effect of the crime upon you to be considered by the court at sentencing.

  • To have the impact of the crime on you included in a presentence investigation.

  • To be provided sentencing or dispositional information upon request.

  • To restitution as allowed by law.

  • To a civil judgment for unpaid restitution.

  • To compensation for certain expenses as allowed by law.

  • To have your property expeditiously returned when it is no longer needed as evidence.

  • To be notified of the offender's eligibility for parole and to have input into the parole making decision.

  • To be notified by the Department of Corrections of specific types of releases, escapes or confinements as provided by law.

  • To be notified of a pardon application to the governor and to make a written statement regarding the pardon application

  • To contact the Department of Justice about any concerns you may have about your victim rights.

 

Victim Rights Education

In July 2021, we created a display for victim rights awareness in partnership with Marsy's Law for Wisconsin. These silhouettes were placed along Barstow St. in downtown Eau Claire, and each one has a short version of a constitutional right included in Marsy’s Law, which was adopted during the April 2020 election, printed on it.

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