Home | DVCC Updates | DVCC 360 | New Domestic Violence Law

New Domestic Violence Law

Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font

Linda Blozie, the Director of Public Affairs for the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, recently gave a comprehensive presentation to DVCC staff on the new domestic violence laws passed earlier this year by the Connecticut State Legislature. Blozie praised House Speaker Christopher Donovan’s Task Force on Domestic Violence for the thoroughness with which they delved into the subject and gathered information in order to formulate the new legislation and thanked the liaisons from DVCC and other domestic violence agencies in the state for their assistance, input and advocacy during the process. She specifically cited Stamford Representative Gerald Fox for his support and work in drafting and ensuring passage of the laws. The overall purpose of the legislation, she said, was to enhance offender accountability and victim safety.

During the legislative process, Fox stressed the importance of addressing the increasing incidents of domestic violence in our communities.

“Most people don’t realize that about 30 percent of criminal court dockets involve domestic violence,” he said. “Enhancing the tools of the legal system, particularly in the area of protective orders, is critical to reducing the incidence of domestic violence.”

“We hope that the new laws will make it more difficult for persistent offenders to avoid serious consequences,” said Andrea Dahms, DVCC’s Domestic Violence Victim Advocate/Attorney in Stamford. “Now if a person is a persistent offender of crimes involving assault, trespass, threatening, harassment, and the violation of a restraining or protective order, the court may consider any prior convictions of such crimes in Connecticut and in other states.”

The laws, which took effect July 1, include: broadening and strengthening existing laws on restraining and protective orders; allocating $1.75 million to staff Connecticut domestic violence shelters around the clock; prohibiting employers from penalizing an employee for attending a civil court case where the employee is a victim of family violence; mandating employers to grant time off to victims of family violence so that they may seek services, relocate or participate in civil or criminal proceedings related to the case; allowing tenants who are victims, fear for their safety and wish to relocate to terminate their lease without penalty; establishing a pilot electronic monitoring program in three communities for anyone who is charged with violating a restraining or protective order and who has been determined to be a high-risk offender; establishing three new domestic violence docket courts in the state; mandating schools to offer information on teen dating violence and domestic violence in their in-service training programs for school personnel.

DVCC Director of PeaceWorks Susan Delaney agreed that it is important for schools to offer training in recognizing and understanding interpersonal violence to their staff.

“Because they are on the front lines and know their students, it is important that school administrators and educators understand that they can make a difference in the lives of their students by becoming educated themselves on the dynamics and signs of teen dating violence,” she said. “However, educators do not need to become experts on this issue because they can call on PeaceWorks to provide best practices programs to their students about the warning signs of an abusive relationship, how to safety plan and how to contact resources.”

PeaceWorks offers interactive, age-appropriate programs for pre-K to twelfth grade youth that focus on peaceful conflict resolution, recognizing and maintaining healthy interpersonal relationships and recognizing and reducing aggression, anti-social behavior, bullying, harassment and intolerance.