The Senate gave final passage to legislation late Tuesday aimed at improving the state’s response to domestic crimes through improved access to protective and restraining orders, better information sharing between state agencies, and victim’s access to services.
The bill, which came from the Speaker’s Task Force on Domestic Violence, passed on the Senate consent calendar.
“Domestic violence is an awful problem afflicting our community crossing all social and economic boundaries. Today’s legislation goes a long way to protecting the one in four women who experiences domestic violence in her lifetime,” said Rep. Mae Flexer, D-Danielson, in a written statement. “I want to thank the many victims, law enforcement professionals, and others that came forward this past year to let us know how we could improve Connecticut’s response to domestic violence.”
The bill corrects a statutory contradiction that exempted people in a dating relationship from arrest for committing a domestic violence crime.
The measure creates a task force to establish the best procedures for law enforcement to adhere to when dealing with situations of domestic violence.
It also establishes new protocol for the judicial branch when dealing with domestic violence, including requiring judicial staff to inform the Department of Children and Families if the defendant poses a risk to children.
The House voted unanimously to pass the bill on June 1, it now heads to the governor’s desk for his signature.
The passage of the bill in the House was praised by state victim advocate Michelle Cruz, who said in a written statement, “there are some groundbreaking provisions in this bill that will further protect victims of domestic violence and have a direct impact on the safety of victims and their children.”
This bill is one of two bills passed this session addressing domestic violence. The other piece of legislation, passed last week, would stop the practice of undercutting in the bail bonds industry, where defendants are able to post bail much lower than the state requires.
“Not only is this the second bill passed this year addressing domestic violence issues, but the state budget approved a few weeks ago also included funding that will allow domestic violence shelters to remain open 24 hours a day and seven days a week,” said Flexer.