Committee Approves SAFE Act

Madison—The SAFE Act came one step closer to final passage by the State Legislature today as a key Senate committee unanimously recommended approval of the bill. The legislation would implement model court procedures to verify that domestic and child abusers with restraining orders surrender their firearms in compliance with a current law.

“Wisconsin is on the verge of bringing active enforcement to this law, and that has the potential to save the lives of women, children and men across our state,” said Patti Seger, executive director of End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin. “The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation astronomically increases the chances of homicide, and that is why disarming batterers during the restraining order process has been shown to decrease domestic violence homicides by close to one-fifth.”

The State Assembly already passed the measure early last week. Advocates believe the Senate committee’s approval today should clear the way for the full State Senate to send the SAFE Act to the Governor’s desk.

“We urge the Senate to take up the SAFE Act as soon as it returns to the floor in March,” said Seger.

Committee vote followed an emotional hearing

During the public hearing on the bill, which also took place last week, committee members heard testimony from survivors of domestic violence and law enforcement officers.

Teri Jendusa Nicolai recounted how her ex-husband used a gun that he was required to surrender to kidnap her. During the ordeal, he left her for dead in a storage locker. Nicolai said that despite her pleas she couldn’t get officials to force her abuser to surrender his guns prior to the incident.

Another survivor, Sarah Engle from Marshfield, Wisconsin, was nearly killed after being shot in the head by her ex-boyfriend, when he illegal possessed a firearm while subject to a domestic abuse restraining order. Engle’s mother was shot and killed during the incident.

“I am living proof of how important it is that we do everything we can to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers,” Engle told the committee.

Law enforcement officials addressed the committee and said the bill would assist them in keeping victims secure. They also argued the legislation would save the lives of police officers, who are called to intervene in volatile domestic abuse situations. 

Selected Resources

Voting Guide for Advocates and Survivors

This guide is meant to help advocates assist their clients with the voting process. With recent law changes and court decisions, even the basics of how to cast a ballot can be very confusing  The guide covers voter registeration, ID requirements and determining where to vote. 

Development and Maintenance of Policies Prohibiting Harassment of LGBTQ People


This webinar is about policies to promote inclusion of both LGBTQ clients and employees.  After viewing the webinar, participants will be able to list the types of policies that support an environment free of harassment and bullying of LGBTQ people, describe ways to assist staff in understanding and following the policies, and list the elements of a plan to monitor claims, address them seriously, and document their corrective action(s). 

VIEW AND LISTEN. You will be directed to a short survey and the link to the recorded webinar.


The series is provided by the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Domestic Abuse Program, and presented by Molly Herrmann, statewide training consultant and member of the End Domestic Abuse WI and WI Coalition Against Sexual Assault LGBTQ Committee. Services Act (FVPSA) federal requirements. Webinar 3 is Development and Maintenance of Policies Prohibiting  Discrimination and Harassment of LGBTQ People.

The series offers a wonderful opportunity to reflect on organization practices and culture, and to build bridges between existing knowledge and skills and innovative, emerging practices, while also meeting the DCF training requirement.

All staff of DCF domestic violence programs receiving FVPSA funding must view each webinar live (February and March 2015) or recorded.


When you have completed the recorded webinar, download the certificate below.  It can be completed electronically or by hand and printed. Handouts are also available for download.