Helping Victims of Domestic Violence

Feb 27, 2012

Connecticut legislators met on Monday to discuss how the state can do a better job helping victims of domestic violence. 

In the past few years Connecticut has gotten tougher on perpetrators of domestic violence. Legislators have made it harder for offenders to be released too quickly, and they’ve committed to staffing domestic violence shelters 24/7. But there’s still more work to be done. Representative Mae Flexer leads the Speaker’s Task Force on Domestic Violence. She said the task force has focused on a different aspect of the problem this year – how police respond to domestic violence incidents.  

FLEXER: “The bulk of the work that’s been done over the last several months has been on law enforcement and making sure that we have uniformity across the state in terms of law enforcement training on domestic violence situations and law enforcement response to domestic violence victims.

The group found startling variations in how different police departments deal with domestic violence. The rate of dual arrests is just one example. Dual arrests occur when the police arrest both the victim and the alleged offender in the incident.

FLEXER: “In some jurisdictions the rate of dual arrest would be 5 or 7 or 10 percent, and in other places it would be 25 and 30 percent and the difference there may be in training and awareness within the individual department around the issues concerning domestic violence.”

Flexer hopes the legislature can help draft a statewide policy explaining how police should be trained in responding to domestic violence incidents. The task force also wants to address how and when victims are notified about what happens to their offenders, and to help them get restraining orders more easily.