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Legal Advocates Strive For Systems Change

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DVCC's Directors of Court and Legal Services for Stamford and Norwalk, Andrea Dahms and Katie Pawlik, followed up on the get-together with Fox by meeting with him in his local office in Stamford to propose specific legislation that addresses some of the recommendations by the legislative Task Force on Domestic Violence. Their proposals included: an option for judges to extend criminal orders of protection beyond disposition of a defendant's case and mandating home visits by police officers and victim advocates in high risk domestic violence situations, both of which address the Task Force's recommendation to strengthen the enforcement of protection orders; mandating all police departments to designate a point person for domestic violence cases, which addresses the recommendation to encourage the judicial branch to develop additional domestic violence docket courts; and allowing Family Violence Victim Advocates access to an offender's criminal history, which addresses the recommendation to improve information sharing in family violence cases. As a result of their efforts, the proposal to give judges the option to extend protection orders beyond case disposition has been incorporated into the Judiciary Committee legislation (Raised Bill No. 5497), and they will submit written testimony on their recommendations to the joint hearing on the legislation by the Judiciary and Human Services Committees.

As DVCC's legislative liaisons, Dahms and Pawlik also plan to meet one-on-one with all our local legislators and they coordinate on a monthly basis with CCADV's Director of Public Policy.