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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

2016 Legislative Session

2016 Summary of Legislative Changes Related to Domestic Violence

This session saw a major victory with the passage of An Act Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence. This measure protects victims of domestic violence at the most dangerous time by requiring those individuals who are subject to temporary, ex parte restraining orders to surrender their firearms and ammunition for a maximum of 14 days between the date they are served with the order and the hearing. A recent poll demonstrated that 86% of CT voters support this proposal.

The most dangerous time for a victim of domestic violence is when she or he takes steps to end the relationship. The abuser is losing control and may take more extreme actions to regain that control. Evidence-based research has consistently shown the dangerous combination of domestic violence and firearms:

  • Domestic assaults involving firearms are 12x more likely to result in death than those assaults involving any other weapon or bodily force.
  • Women in abusive relationships are 5x more likely to be killed if their abuser has access to a firearm.
  • Connecticut has averaged 14 intimate partner homicides annually since 2000 and firearms are the single most frequently used weapon to commit those homicides (used 39% of the time).

Connecticut has a vested interest to protect the lives of domestic violence victims and this law significantly increase victim safety. The measure also included several provisions that strengthen the system and process for serving restraining orders including enhanced communication and data tracking.

Recent Legislative Changes

2015 Summary of Legislative Changes Related to Domestic Violence

2014 Summary of Legislative Changes Related to Domestic Violence


Recent CCADV Policy Briefs:

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.