Law enforcement officials in Connecticut screened more than 23,000 domestic violence survivors for their risk of experiencing fatal violence during 2020 and 2021, according to a Tuesday report from the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence. 

The 23,470 survivors assessed by police in the two year period at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic represents a 20% increase over the prior two years. The statistics come from a CCADV report, which also celebrated the 10 year anniversary of Connecticut’s Lethality Assessment Program used to identify victims at risk of potentially fatal violence.

CCADV and police praised in a press release the assessment tool and intervention process, which screened some 75,000 survivors and helped direct more than 23,000 to domestic violence services in its decade in use.

“It is thanks to the collaboration between law enforcement, CCADV’s 18 member organizations, and other criminal justice and community-based stakeholders that survivors of intimate partner violence have been provided with the critical information they need to make informed-decisions about their own safety,” Daniel Cargill, CCADV’s director of law enforcement services, said. 

According to the group’s most recent report the screening tool found that 12,872 of the assessed residents were at high risk of being seriously hurt or killed by their intimate partner. It also identified jealous or controlling behavior, a pending separation, incidents of attempted strangling as well as stalking and threatening to be the most common red flags for serious violence. 

Only about 46% of survivors facing high risk of injury connected with domestic violence advocates while police were at the scene of a violent incident while others made the call after police had left. 

“The connection to services, no matter when the survivor chooses to engage in them, is the critical component and ultimate goal of LAP,” Cargill said.

The report noted the unique challenges faced by police and domestic violence advocates during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Shelters that were already operating above capacity saw a significant increase in requests for shelter while also having to increase reliance on hoteling to meet public health distancing guidelines,” the report said. “Court locations were closed and consolidated to limit the exposure of the public and staff.” 

The circumstances found advocates partnering with the state to find solutions for survivors. For instance, the Judicial Branch launched an online application process for restraining orders while courts were closed.

Anyone experiencing intimate partner or domestic violence is encouraged to visit or call (888) 774-2900.