The recent murders of two Connecticut women spurred a roundtable discussion Thursday organized by the state child advocate and the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Oxford resident Lori Jackson was murdered by her husband on May 7. Less than one month later, Kyla Ryng of Bristol was shot by her husband.
Karen Jarmoc executive director of Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said one of the takeaways from the roundtable is the need for stronger collaboration among multiple systems that respond to children and families. She said that over the last decade, there were at least three dozen fatal incidents of family violence where children have witnessed the crimes.
"It's very concerning," Jarmoc said, "because as you can imagine, the impact of a child witnessing not just domestic violence, but a domestic violence homicide, is tremendously detrimental to their health and their well-being."
Those involved in Thursday's discussion were representatives from the state police, the court system, the Department of Children and Families, and other community providers. They'll be part of a working group to develop a strategic plan around how community partners can improve the outcomes of children and families impacted by domestic violence.
Jarmoc said that improving communication among multiple systems is key. "We're each doing work within our own entities -- for example, the National Guard, law enforcement, the Department of Children and Families, the judicial branch, our state coalition -- quite often we're functioning within our own silos. So there might be some red flags, or information that one particular entity might be aware of. We're sometimes assuming the other is aware of it, too, and that is not the correct assumption."
Jarmoc added that while victims are encouraged to call for help, people who know the victim can also reach out. "What we try to emphasize is there is a statewide hotline number, and you don't have to be in a crisis. It's information. You'll have a certified domestic violence counselor answer the phone, and information is power."
Jarmoc stressed that anyone should feel comfortable calling the 24/7 hotline, which is confidential. The number is (888) 774-2900.