Frequently Asked Questions

LEGAL FAQs

I want to leave my legal spouse. Will I get in trouble if I move items out of the house?


Until a court order says otherwise, all property should be treated as "marital property" and equally belongs to both parties. You may want to take pictures of everything that is taken and what items remain in the home upon leaving so everything can be accounted for later.




Will I get into trouble if I leave and take the kids?


If there is no court order in place, it is presumed that both parents share joint custody and placement of marital children. There are possible civil and criminal repercussions if one parent withholds the children from the other. The most serious consequence could be a criminal charge if one parent withholds a child for more than 12 hours. A parent who is considering leaving an abusive relationship with their child is advised to speak to an attorney to discuss the possible consequences.




I have a domestic abuse restraining order against my partner. Over the weekend, I broke it and contacted them. Now they says it’s not good anymore, is that true?


No the restraining order prohibits the respondent from engaging in certain conduct. So, while this action is not recommended, it does not make the restraining order invalid.




I have a restraining order against my partner. Will I get in trouble for contacting them?


There is a possibility that if you initiate contact when a domestic abuse restraining order is in place and the respondent is arrested and/or reports that you’ve been in contact with them, you may be arrested for being party to a crime. The crime is the respondent violating the restraining order. You could be arrested for causing that crime to occur. Also, if you’ve been in contact with them, it is less likely a violation may be prosecuted since it is more difficult to prove.




I had my partner arrested but I don’t want to “press charges.” What can I do?


The decision about whether to charge your partner with a crime is in the hands of law enforcement and the DA. You can speak with the prosecutor, and they may take your wishes into consideration.




My partner beat me up last week, and I didn’t tell anyone. Now my family and friends are telling me to call the police. Is it too late? What will happen if I do?


It is not too late to call. You can always file a police report even if no arrest is made, which will be kept on record for any future reports you make. Police will investigate the incident and may collect any remaining evidence. If enough evidence remains to charge your partner with a crime, an arrest may or may not result.




If I call the police because my partner is screaming and threatening me, will my partner be arrested?


Under the mandatory arrest law, an arrest must occur if law enforcement believes a domestic abuse crime has been committed. Verbal altercations may or may not rise to the level of a crime under this law, dependent on the facts. IF the person threatened to hurt or kill you, it likely will be a crime. You can contact the Wisconsin Victim Helpline at (800) 446-6564, if you believe an arrest was required by law but did not occur.




My sister is in an abusive relationship and she’s pregnant. What can I do to make her listen to me about leaving?


Leaving may not be the best option for her at the moment; it may in fact put her at greater risk of harm. It is also her decision when, if at all, she chooses to leave the relationship. You can assist her by remaining supportive of the decisions she makes and providing her with relevant resources, such as providing her our crisis hotline number or telling her about our services. It may feel like you are not helping her, but you are. Keep telling her you support her decisions so she does not feel alone. It is also important to remember personal self-care as vicarious trauma is real and may affect those like you with loved ones experiencing abuse.




I’m not in a domestic violence relationship, but (the police, my therapist, a friend, etc.) told me to call you and get a restraining order.


A helpful tool we often use to explain domestic violence is the Power & Control diagram. It can assist in understanding the overall pattern of abusive and violent behaviors, which are used by an abusive person to establish and maintain control over their partner, What do you think about your relationship after examining this wheel? Developed by: Domestic Abuse Intervention Project 202 East Superior Street Duluth, MN 55802 218.722.4134





GENERAL FAQs

What hours are you open?


Normal business hours for most program staff is 8am - 5pm. However, an advocate is here 24/7/365 and available easily via telephone.




I'm unsure if I've been experiencing abuse. My partner never physically harmed me, but I'm still not sure. Where do I start; who do I talk to?


Abuse comes in many forms, primarily including: -Physical -Sexual -Financial/Economic -Verbal/Emotional We encourage you to call our crisis line at 262-334-7298 24/7/365 to speak with an advocate. Everything you discuss on the phone or in person with FRIENDS staff is confidential. You can give us your name when you call, or you can call anonymously. During that phone call, the advocate will help connect you to internal/external resources.




My abuse happened years ago, can I still get services?


Yes! No matter how long ago you experienced abuse, you can still utilize our services.




Can I still get services even if I'm not ready to leave my abusive partner?


Yes! We can still meet with you to safety plan, discuss next steps or provide other services. We can be a support for you until you are ready to leave your abusive partner.




Do you serve victims of sexual violence as well?


Yes! We serve victims of sexual or domestic violence, as well as victims of human trafficking.




Do you have space in your shelter?


Our shelter consists of 20 beds, 2 cribs, and 6 bedrooms. We do bunk singles, and families are allowed their personal space by being provided their own room in shelter. Shelter is communal and space is limited. Please call the crisis line to see if there is currently space. There is an assessment that everyone must complete with an advocate. Our emergency shelter is funded for people fleeing intimate partner violence (IPV), sexual violence or human trafficking.




Do I have to being food, bedding, or cleaning supplies with when I come to stay in shelter?


No, we have food available for shelter clients. Bedding and cleaning supplies will be provided to you. You are free to bring your own bedding, cleaning supplies, food, or clothing. Shelter storage is limited, so only bring necessities. All belongings will go through a heat treatment upon your entrance to shelter.




Can I bring my pet with when coming to stay at the shelter?


Unfortunately, we cannot accept pets in the building. We do have a great working relationship with Cedar Creek Pet Resort and the Washington County Humane Society to accomodate your pet(s), at no cost to you, during your shelter stay.




Do you provide housing resources?


We provide resources for anyone that calls the crisis line. We do not own our own long-term housing or apartments. We offer a long-term housing debt reduction program, but you are required to be an active client to participate in this Transitional Living Program. Please call the crisis line and set up an intake appointment to discuss your needs, next steps, and goals with our Victim Advocate.




Do you help with hotel vouchers?


We can potentially help with one or two stays at a hotel if you are a current or active client. Please call the crisis line for more details.




Do you accept donations?


Yes, we do! We can graciously accept NEW items. Please check our website for our Wish List items. All the highlighted or red items are our most needed. The Wish List is updated quarterly.