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Investing in Wisconsin: Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence

Press Release

Location: Madison, WI

Today, Governor Scott Walker announced his $11 million domestic violence budget investment aimed at protecting Wisconsinites by expanding care and centers for the abused and their children.
"Victims of domestic violence need our support to get the resources and protection they need," said Governor Scott Walker. "These centers will provide better care and treatment for mothers and their children."
The initiatives announced by Governor Walker today include:

Family Justice Center: Investing $10.6 million in state funds to partner with Children's Hospital and the Sojourner Family Peace Center on the Family Justice Center project in Milwaukee to provide services and shelter to families. When there is domestic abuse in a family, the whole family suffers, but often children and parents receive separate services and assessment. The Family Justice Center will be able to provide integrated support to both parents and children together to help them recover.

· The facility will be the nation's first complete co-location of a Child Advocacy Center with a Family Justice Center. The Center will be the first to integrate models of care and services to treat the family unit together. It is an innovative collaboration of services and casework around the family for both the domestic violence work and the child abuse and neglect work, which have previously been in silos. This will provide better care for the family and streamline redundancies and less efficient work of providing care to the individual family members separately.
· The Family Justice Center will provide on-sight shelter for victims; government services including co-location for the district attorney, law enforcement, and victims' advocacy services; and proven multidisciplinary medical and social services.
· The Family Justice Center model focuses on early intervention and prevention, which can stop violence from escalating and perpetuating a generational cycle.

Domestic Abuse Intervention Services Center (DAIS): Fund $560,000 to the Domestic Abuse Intervention Services Center (DAIS) in Madison to assist with the construction of a new facility.

· Between 2010 and 2011, DAIS had a 643 percent increase in the number of nights that people were waitlisted for the shelter, and the current location is too easily discoverable by offenders.
· The new location will be publicly known and have the necessary and extensive security measures in place to allow more individuals to be served by DAIS.
· The facility will be a mix of residential, program, and office spaces. The facility will include seven units, each divided into four bedrooms for a total of 56 beds. DAIS will be relocating all of its services and programs to the new facility as well as administrative, fund development, and management staff. The new site will allow DAIS to more than double the capacity of the shelter, and expand and enhance all of its other programs.

GPS Tracking of Violent Domestic Abusers: This initiative was introduced earlier in the week as part of the law enforcement package. Counties will receive grants for, and the authority to implement, GPS tracking programs for dangerous first-time restraining order recipients.

In addition, to the correlation between domestic violence and sexual assault, children exposed to domestic violence are also being victimized. In a recent study by the National Institute of Justice, 90 percent of children were exposed to the abuse of their mothers and 64 percent of those by age 3. Governor Walker's proposals focus on protecting mothers and their children and ensuring we are doing all we can to prevent future tragedies.

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