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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 Policy Priorities

CCADV's 2016 Policy Priorities

In 2016, CCADV will concentrate our policy efforts on improving outcomes for children exposed to domestic violence. The 2015-2016 Legislative Task Force to Study the Statewide Response to Minors Exposed to Domestic Violence was tasked with examining policies and procedures used by the Department of Children & Families, Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services, healthcare professionals, law enforcement, guardians ad litem, attorneys for minor children and the Judicial Branch for minors who are exposed to family violence. CCADV will advocate for strong policy, procedures and cross-system collaborations that prioritize the physical, emotional and psychological needs of children who witness fatal and non-fatal domestic violence, while maintaining victim confidentiality.

Children witnessing intimate partner violence between their parents/caregivers is a prevalent issue in Connecticut. According to the Connecticut Judicial Branch, in 2013, 25% of cases handled by its Family Services Division involved a child who was present during an arrest. The State Police Crimes Analysis Unit reports that close to 32% of incidents involving family violence in 2012 involved children present and DCF reports an average of 4,661 families experiencing intimate partner violence on their caseload between 2012 and 2014. CCADV member organizations provide services to over 1,200 children each year whose parent was a victim. It is critical that a strong, cross-system coordinated response to these children is established with the use of evidence-based best practices.

We will also focus efforts on strengthening the state's system for the service of restraining orders, bolstering funding for certified domestic violence counselors to serve as advocates in all civil/family courts throughout the state, securing a temporary hold or "cooling off" period for individuals arrested for family violence that provides the victim with time to safety plan with a domestic violence counselor, and improving school-based prevention and education for teen dating violence and intimate partner violence. We will continue to monitor other issues that may impact victims such as child custody, divorce/alimony, health insurance, Family & Medical Leave Act, wage gap, etc.

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.