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What to Expect When you Call the Statewide Domestic Violence Hotline

First and foremost, when you call the statewide domestic violence hotline or your local domestic violence agency you’ll talk to a caring person who will listen carefully without judging you or your situation. Advocates can help you think about your options and determine what steps and services will work best for you.

Our advocates may ask questions to learn more about your situation, but will always take your lead. While they will not presume to know what is best for you, they will ask that you consider all possible scenarios and outcomes so that you can make the best decision about action steps for you and your children.

Each domestic violence agency works with people of all races, ethnicities, ages, gender identities, sexual orientations, abilities, cultural backgrounds, religions, and all economic and social backgrounds.

Programs offer all or some of the following services:

Hotlines 

Each domestic violence agency in Connecticut offers a free and local 24-hour hotline for crisis support, advocacy, and information and referrals. You do not have to be in crisis to call the hotline. There is also a statewide, toll free domestic violence hotline at (888) 774-2900.

Safety Planning 

A safety plan is a personalized and practical plan for reducing the risk of being hurt. It helps you to identify things you can do to better protect you and your children at home, school, work, and in the community. Your safety plan can change at any time, it is an evolving process based upon your individual situation.

Support Groups 

Day and evening support groups can provide you with a chance to share your experiences and explore your options for safety. In these groups, you are also offered the opportunity to connect with others who have similar experiences.

Children's Programs 

Services are available for your children, which include educational and recreational activities, individual counseling, support groups, advocacy and referrals.

Counseling Services 

Individual, short-term counseling provides you with a supportive environment for exploring your thoughts and feelings, as well as resources and supports for you and your family.

Shelters and Safe Homes 

Safe and confidential housing is available if you must leave your home because your safety is at risk. While there you can receive safety planning, counseling, group support and help with exploring options for a safer future.

Court Advocacy and Support 

Family Violence Victim Advocates in criminal courts can describe what can be expected during court proceedings and help you navigate your way through the court system. They can provide you with information about the court case, including civil restraining orders and criminal protective orders, to help you make informed decisions.

Information and Referrals 

Advocates can support you in identifying and accessing community resources to meet your basic needs such as assistance from social service agencies, courts, medical providers and others. They have up-to-date knowledge about many services and opportunities available in the community and positive relationships with people working in other programs.

What to Expect When you Call the Police

The goal of law enforcement is always to ensure the victim’s safety. Most police departments understand the importance of responding quickly to calls about domestic violence. The first thing they will do when they arrive is to make sure that no further injuries will occur.

The police must then gather facts about what happened so that they can decide what to do. They may talk to anyone who was part of the incident, or who witnessed or heard the incident. They will look to see if there is any “physical evidence” of an altercation, such as bruises or blood on a person, torn clothing, or, for instance, broken furniture. Based on what the officers hear or see, and the witnesses’ and victims’ statements, they will decide whether a crime has been committed and whether anyone should be arrested.

Sometimes the police will arrest a person when they come to the scene; sometimes they will arrest the person later; and sometimes they will never make an arrest. In almost all family violence cases, the police must arrest anyone they believe has committed a crime, based on the facts.

In many instances, a police officer may either call the local domestic violence agency to assist you or encourage you to call yourself. The state’s 18 domestic violence agencies have close working relationships with their local law enforcement agencies and work together to ensure your safety and that your abuser is held accountable for his or her actions.

To learn more about what to expect at the scene of a family violence crime, please download CCADV’s Guide to Connecticut’s Family Violence Laws (also available in Spanish).