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
2017 Legislative Session
This session we focus on ensuring 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 125% capacity in fiscal year 2016, while the average length of stay in shelter rose to 46 days - up 77% in the past 8 years. Domestic violence organizations provided 15% more counseling services, 15% more court-based advocacy and 10% more community-based services than the prior year. Driving parts of this increase were reductions to other human services, such as mental health and substance abuse treatment, and a lack of affordable housing options, all of which make it more difficult for victims to make timely transitions to safe, stable living situations. Further reductions to domestic violence services will exacerbate emergency shelter capacity issues and potentially compromise victim safety.
We will also work to strengthen laws related to victim safety and offender accountability, including protections against stalking. According to Connecticut's Lethality Assessment Program, a screening tool used by over 90% of CT cities and towns, stalking behaviors are the most frequently cited forms of abuse experienced by victims. Over 70% of Connecticut victims report extreme jealousy or control of daily activities by their abuser, and 49% report being followed or subjected to threatening messages. It is crucial for Connecticut's definition of stalking to reflect national best practices that improve the ability of law enforcement to intervene in stalking early, before those behaviors result in escalating, potentially fatal violence.
Efforts to create a paid family leave system in Connecticut and ensure accessible, affordable housing options will also remain a priorities for CCADV. We will continue work through our Health Professional Outreach Project to improve access to healthcare benefits for victims and we will work across systems to build capacity among professionals working with victims. Click the link above to see our full set of 2017 policy priorities or the links below to learn about recent legislative changes related to domestic violence.
Recent Legislative Changes
Recent CCADV Policy Briefs:
Firearms & Domestic Violence: Protecting Victims at the Most Dangerous Time (Rev. February 2016)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.