For sexual assault survivors, the impact on their lives is far-reaching. Concerns for their safety, employment, and immigration status are just a few examples of legal needs beyond the criminal justice system for survivors. As a result, the civil legal system may offer additional protections for sexual assault survivors.


Safety Concerns

Sexual assault is grounds for all four types of restraining orders in Wisconsin. An advocate at a SASP can assist survivors in discussing their options, filing the necessary paperwork, and attending court hearings. Additionally, Wisconsin law supports and protects victims of sexual assault in the context of renting or leasing residential property from a landlord.


The impact of a sexual assault may extend to a survivor’s employment status as many lose their jobs are forced to quit after an assault. This may be particularly true when the offender is a co-worker or supervisor. Both state and federal law prohibit sexual harassment, including sexual assault, in the workplace. The Equal Rights Division of the Wisconsin Department of Workplace Development and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission are the respective state and federal agencies who administer these laws.


Immigrant sexual assault survivors face additional barriers (both real and perceived) to accessing services that may aid in their long-term recovery. Fears about the law and the criminal justice system may deter immigrant survivors from reporting the assault or from seeking medical care. These barriers exist for those survivors who are legally present in the United States as well as for those who are not. For undocumented survivors, our immigration laws do offer specific remedies they may pursue to obtain legal status.