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Legislators seek domestic-abuse advocates

Wisconsin lawmakers are being asked to provide advocates who could accompany domestic abuse victims at any stage of the cases against their attackers.

Assembly Assistant Majority Leader Jim Steineke proposed the measure. He said many abuse victims feel alone. They hesitate to come forward or stop pursuing their cases when they're intimidated by their attackers.

Steineke said it's more likely that offenders will be brought to justice if an advocate helps the victims with information and legal procedures. Eleven other states provide similar advocates to what Steineke is proposing.

Wisconsin already has over 40 service providers that help sexual assault victims for free. The proposed state budget includes $4 million dollars to pay for local assistance grants over the next two years.

Steineke's bill would help victims of certain sexual assaults, domestic abuse and harassment, and certain child abuse.