Wisconsin Assembly passes lifetime restraining order bill for sexual assault survivors

“Kayleigh’s Law” passed unanimously
WI Assembly Passes Kayleigh's Law
WI Assembly Passes Kayleigh's Law(Kayleigh Kozak | Kayleigh Kozak)
Published: Feb. 23, 2022 at 6:42 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 23, 2022 at 7:14 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Wisconsin Assembly voted in favor of a bill that makes it possible for survivors of sexual assault to obtain lifetime restraining orders against a convicted abuser.

Kayleigh Kozak is a sexual assault survivor who is pushing for lawmakers to pass the law in all 50 of the United States.

When she learned her direct protection fell within the terms of her abusers probation status, she pursued a law that would provide victims with protection regardless of their probation status.

“It’s hard,” Kozak said. “There are a lot of days where I feel like quitting and walking away because I should not have to be re-facing everything that I’ve been through to fight for this.”

She said most people don’t understand that Wisconsin restraining orders last four years. Survivors can extend each restraining order for up to ten years if they can prove they are in “imminent danger”.

”Lifetime is not lifetime,” Kozak said. “It’s very misleading to victims and it’s very misleading to their families. When victims and their families accept a plea deal and they’re thinking lifetime, they’re thinking lifetime, they’re not thinking, ‘Oh, this could go a way in seven to 14 years.’'’

State Representative Barbara Dittrich (R - Oconomowoc) brought the bill to Wisconsin. Sexual assault survivors told her they feel like abusers have more protection than victims.

”The way we have it now, if you’re granted a restraining order for an adult it’s only four years,” Dittrich said. ”I’ve talked to victims who have had their assailants sending letters to their house from prison.... and it turns their world upside down. So to not have to face that again is a very big deal.”

”That is what fuels me to continue to fight,” Kozak said. “So that no victim has to experience the things that I’m having to experience ever again.”

Next, the bill goes to Governor Tony Evers.

If the governor signs the bill, “Kayleigh’s Law” will become a Wisconsin law.

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