UW Law clinic to help domestic violence victims obtain restraining orders

Published: Oct. 26, 2018 at 3:22 PM CDT
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A new restraining order clinic will soon began helping victims of domestic violence.

UW Law School students, under a supervising attorney, will represent victims at their injunction hearings and help them get orders of protection.

These court orders, signed by a judge, mandate that perpetrators stop the threatening behavior or face serious legal consequences.

“There’s a huge need for victims who are seeking restraining orders,” says Marsha Mansfield, a UW Clinical Law School professor.

“I would say the victims of domestic violence are the least likely to be able to access legal representation at a time when they are most endangered,” explains Mansfield. “Getting an injunction can give them a level of protection that they can’t really get otherwise.”

In Dane County alone, law enforcement responded to domestic abuse complaints involving more than 3,100 victims in 2016, according to Department of Justice statistics.

The Restraining Order Clinic will work with domestic violence agencies in Rock, Jefferson, Sauk, and Dane County.

“We want to really expand our service area to be able to help more people,” she says.

Mansfield believes there’s a state wide need too for services for domestic violence victims.

UW Law School will benefit from the partnership as well.

“We’ll not only help victims of domestic violence but also provide a good educational experience for our law students because we are a law school and our primary focus is educating our law students,” she adds.

The Restraining Order clinic will open in January 2019.