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Public Policy

CCADV works at both a state and national level to create and implement policy changes that will strengthen Connecticut’s response to domestic violence. Our staff works closely with elected officials and state agency leaders to ensure comprehensive polices that meet the needs of victims and hold offenders accountable.

During each session of the CT General Assembly CCADV takes an active role in drafting legislation and organizing testimony and advocacy on legislative measures related to domestic violence. We monitor dozens of additional bills that may impact victims in large or small ways. These issues may include child custody, divorce, spousal and child support, healthcare, social justice and economic justice.

Some of the key changes we’ve facilitated in recent years to domestic violence laws and policies in our state include:

  • Securing funding for 24-hour staffing at all of Connecticut domestic violence shelters
  • Strengthening civil restraining orders and criminal protective orders to ensure gun forfeiture by offenders, as well as extending the length of civil restraining orders
  • Enhancing the definitions of strangulation, threatening  and stalking to achieve greater protection for victims
  • Implementing a statewide Model Law Enforcement Policy on Family Violence as the standard by which all law enforcement in our state respond to domestic violence
  • Increasing housing protections for victims by allowing early lease termination when they’re in danger

Our staff works closely with and/or participates in several key policy committees including:

  • CT Speaker’s Task Force on Domestic Violence
  • CT Criminal Justice Policy Advisory Commission
  • CT Family Violence Model Policy Governing Council
  • CT Trafficking in Persons Council
  • National Network to End Domestic Violence Policy Committee
  • National Resource Center on Domestic Violence Prevention Council

2018 Legislative Session

2018 Policy Priorities

This session we will focus on addressing three decades of dual arrest in Connecticut. Connecticut’s family violence mandatory arrest law enacted in 1987 has resulted in the unintended consequence of Connecticut having one of the country’s highest dual arrest rates. A dual arrest occurs when both parties at the scene of a family violence incident are arrested. Connecticut’s intimate partner violence (IPV) dual arrest rate averages 20%, that’s more than twice the national average of 7% (National Incident Based Reporting System/NIBRS). This is a statewide challenge with 87 of 106 law enforcement entities having an IPV dual arrest rate double or more than double the national average.

At least 27 states have explicit dominant aggressor statutes to guide law enforcement in addressing family violence complaints from two or more opposing parties. Ten (10) of these states mandate the arrest of the dominant aggressor. National studies have found strong evidence that dominant aggressor laws achieve their stated objective and that dual arrests were twice as likely to be made in states without dominant aggressor laws. Adoption of such a law in Connecticut will bring our dual arrest rate more in line with the national average. It’s time for CT to make this change!

We will also work to ensure that government funding for domestic violence services is both protected and used in the most efficient, effective manner possible. Connecticut's domestic violence service system is severely stressed. Shelters ran at 122% capacity in fiscal year 2017, while the average length of stay in shelter remaining at over 40 days. Domestic violence organizations provided 31% more support groups, 30% more counseling services, and 13% more court-based advocacy than the prior year.

A much needed increase in Connecticut's Marriage License Surcharge (MSL) would help support this work. The MLS, paid when individuals in Connecticut obtain a marriage license, has not been increased from the current amount of $20 since its implementation in 1992. Money collected by municipalities as part of the surcharge go to support direct services for victims of domestic and sexual violence. An increase would bring Connecticut more in line with neighboring states including New Hampshire which has a $50 surcharge and Vermont which has a $60 surcharge. 

Efforts to create a paid family leave system in Connecticut, ensure accessible, affordable housing options, and create pay equity will also remain a priorities for CCADV.

Recent Legislative Changes

2017 Summary of Legislative Changes Related to Domestic Violence

2016 Summary of Legislative Changes Related to Domestic Violence

2015 Summary of Legislative Changes Related to Domestic Violence

2014 Summary of Legislative Changes Related to Domestic Violence

Recent CCADV Policy Briefs:

Stalking & Intimate Partner Violence: Increasing Intervention Before Violence Escalates (March 2017)

Temporary Holds Following an Arrest: Giving Victims Time to Find Safety (March 2015)

Firearms & Domestic Violence: Protecting Victims at the Most Dangerous Time (Rev. February 2016)

Financial Abuse: Securing Economic Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence (March 2013)

Related Policy Memos:

Battered Women's Justice Project: Memorandum to the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence on Whether to Protect Victims of Domestic Violence from Firearms Through Connecticut's Risk Warrant Statute or Through Connecticut Civil Restraining Order Statute as Ex Parte Relief (January 2016)

To learn more about the CT General Assembly, please read This is Your General Assembly.

For more information on CCADV’s policy initiatives, please contact Liza Andrews, Director of Public Policy & Communications, at (860) 282-7899 or landrews@ctcadv.org.