Ground-breaking Domestic Violence Measures Take Effect

November 24th, 2010

Domestic violence is a lot like that river, said Erika Tindill , executive director of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Even when shelters, advocates and others do all they can to help victims of intimate partner violence, these incidents keep happening. Just as you wouldn’t be able to save every child floating down that river, she said, you can’t save every person experiencing domestic violence. But an aggressive package of domestic violence laws passed by the state Legislature could help catch more victims before they drift away and are lost for good.

The laws, several of which went into effect last Thursday, make a variety of changes aimed at either helping domestic violence victims or preventing violent incidents. Among other things, the legislation provides $1.75 million to allow Connecticut’s 18 domestic violence shelters to stay open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Tindill said this piece of the legislation is particularly important, as Connecticut is one of only five states that doesn’t have round the clock domestic violence shelter funding by the state.

Gov. M Jodi Rell also signed into law House Bill 5246, An Act Concerning the Protection of and Services for Victims of Domestic Violence . The law makes it easier for tenants who are victims of family violence to terminate their rental agreement without penalty, creates a public service awareness campaign to prevent teen dating violence and mandates the state Department of Social Services to make payments from marriage license surcharges to domestic violence shelters. (Effective date is Oct. 1, 2010 except for marriage license surcharge funds and public service campaign, which are already effective.