Priorities and Recommendations

Sexual and domestic violence are complex issues, requiring similar complexity in approach. Similarly, these fields are evolving, as we strive to adapt and change to the diverse needs of survivors. We are also committed to incorporating input from survivors and feedback from stakeholders. While we’ve included recommendations at the current time, and we offer this plan through 2029, we will continue to review and revise to ensure it remains relevant in our work. These recommendations will be used by AIAA, BBWPC, End Abuse and WCASA to inform our work – from public policy to training and technical assistance. We are committed to working with partners at local, state, and national levels to implement these priorities. We also offer recommendations that are applicable to local service providers, communities, and other partners.


Based on feedback from advocates throughout the state, we offer recommendations in the following priority areas.

Priority Area 1: Services

Expand services beyond the false dichotomy of victim/abuser to include all impacted by harm


  • Understand the complexity of violence as it relates to victims/abusers
  • Incorporate comprehensive services for families and communities
  • Provide treatment and healing services for those who have caused harm
  • Offer services for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals

Structure services to be survivor-defined and focused on holistic healing


  • Enhance survivor defined services that reflect their expertise and autonomy
  • Move away from a prescribed list of services to focus on survivor needs
  • Address historical and intergenerational trauma
  • Recognize victimization across the lifespan
  • Expand advocacy beyond criminal, legal, and medical systems
  • Remove barriers and create employment opportunities for survivors in our work

Remove rigid policies and practices that create barriers to healing and justice


  • Focus on the harm and disproportionate impact of mandated reporting
  • Increase mobile services via outreach, varied hours, virtual options, etc.
  • Deliver primary services and remove barriers for youth accessing services
  • Move beyond shelter practices that impede safety and healing
  • Promote long-term, sustainable housing models – like Housing First
  • Strengthen sexual assault services within dual agencies
  • Collaborate in an intentional, and respectful manner for the benefit of survivors to reduce rather than create barriers

“…moving past immediate shelter as a solution, Housing First. We have to address housing, basic resources, logistical/economic factors and how they’re impacting victims.”

Wisconsin domestic violence advocate

Read more about how Advocate and Provider Input informs our work.

Priority Area 2: Culturally-Specific Work

Invest in BIPOC led and culturally specific programs


  • Remove existing barriers to funding for culturally specific programs
  • Challenge funding structures that prioritize mainstream programs
  • Offer substantial, non-restricted, flexible funding for services and prevention
  • Support recruitment, retention, and leadership for those most marginalized
  • Compensate community leaders for their expertise and leadership
  • Enhance survivor defined services that reflect their expertise and autonomy

Prioritize accessibility of linguistically and culturally appropriate services


  • Ensure meaningful access to services across all identities – through translated materials, warm referrals, relationships between programs, etc.
  • Connect survivors to culturally appropriate healing opportunities
  • Design equitable grievance procedures for those experiencing discrimination and harm

Priority Area 3: Prevention

Prioritize primary prevention by focusing on root causes


  • Elevate and compensate youth leadership in prevention efforts
  • Build on a foundation that understands anti-oppression work as primary prevention
  • Encourage best practices in primary prevention that are community-led & driven
  • Embrace prevention as essential to our work

Priority Area 4: Statewide Infrastructure


Center QTPOC experiences to improve state level infrastructure for all survivors


  • Identify ways to incorporate survivor feedback and input
  • Examine existing task forces to coordinate efforts and ensure they center the diverse needs of all survivors
  • Advance public policy initiatives based on the LRP and focused on intersectional issues including racial, economic, and reproductive justice
  • Foster a movement to end violence through collaboration of the four coalitions (AIAA, BBWP, EA, and WCASA) and primary funders (DCF, DOJ, and DHS)

“…as a non-binary person, I still find the language very much gendered. I’m often misgendered in rooms, and conversations. This work is not always a safe space for trans and gender-non-conforming individuals. I think the work starts in leadership.”

Wisconsin domestic violence advocate

Read more about how Advocate and Provider Input informs our work.

Priority Area 5: System Work

Create and expand community responses that center transformative justice


  • Explore options for survivors to seek accountability and healing
  • Encourage decriminalization efforts – including survival, sex work, and other related offense that harm individuals and communities
  • Seek alternatives to criminal legal responses – including mandatory arrest
  • Improve responses for survivors who choose to engage with systems
  • Re-define multi-disciplinary teams beyond the criminal legal system

Priority Area 6: Funding


Increase funding and remove barriers to funding for services


  • Increase funding for SA through existing grant programs and prioritize SA in discretionary grants
  • Increase funding for primary prevention (see Prevention Priority)
  • Increase funding for culturally specific work (see Culturally Specific Priority)
  • Value those who work in DV-SA by increasing compensation and enhancing retention
  • Invest in individual and organizational capacity to support leadership development and improve sustainability
  • Advocate for funding processes that ensure equitable access, promote transparency, and eliminate unnecessary barriers (match requirements, reporting, etc.

The recommendations outlined reflect what those working to end sexual and domestic violence must do to bring us closer to our goal of ending violence in Wisconsin.

To the readers of this report – you have the power to transform your communities by finding opportunities to move these recommendations forward in your personal, professional, and political spheres of influence.


Survivors’ safety, and lives, are at stake.

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