Domestic Violence task force findings

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH/AP) — Connecticut lawmakers and victim advocates are recommending several measures the state can take to improve its response to domestic violence.

Over 50,000 Connecticut residents sought help for domestic violence incidents in 2011. Of those 50,000, over 37,000 victims ended up in court.

House Speaker Christopher Donovan and Democratic Rep. Mae Flexer of Danielson announced the Domestic Violence task force's 20 recommendations at a Monday morning news conference.

[Read the report and recommendations here]

The recommendations include increasing the maximum restraining order length to one year, expanding the number of courts with domestic violence dockets and improving notification to victims of changes in an offender's status. The task force also recommends maintaining funding for around-the-clock staffing at domestic violence shelters and continuing a pilot program for Global Positioning System tracking.

The recommendations come in the wake of the task force's most recent report.

"Over the past decade, our state average for murders resulting, as a result of domestic violence is 16," said Karen Jarmoc from the CT Coalition Against Domestic Violence. "So Connecticut is averaging 16 homicides annually as a result of domestic violence."

The task force says their most important recommendation this year will affect the judicial system.
Right now, when a judge issues a restraining order, it only lasts for six months. The task force says that has got to change.

"Connecticut is only one of a handful of states that only allow a restraining order to be six months. Most states are one year to five years, so this is an important recommendation and change and we're hopeful that it will be adopted," said Jarmoc.

Flexer, chairwoman of the task force, said funding the GPS monitoring program and expanding it to other areas will cost more than $1 million. She said the task force is looking for ways to fund the program, which was successful in Bridgeport, Hartford and Danielson, outside of the state budget.

"The question is not; 'why does she stay with him, why does she let him treat her that way?' But, instead it becomes; 'why does he think he can treat her that way," she said.

Flexer said enacting the task force's 20 recommendations would result in almost no additional costs for the state, as many of them are built around increased collaboration between agencies that deal with domestic violence.

Donovan, a Meriden Democrat, established the task force in 2009. It has since made many changes to the state's domestic violence laws. The Speaker said the recommendations will be placed in multiple bills this session.

Copyright 2014 AP Modified. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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