New CT Domestic Violence Law Makes it Easier for Victims to Get Help

On October 1, 2021, Connecticut’s Domestic Violence laws expanded to include forms of non-physical abuse, broadened the restrictions covered in restraining orders, and made getting restraining orders easier for victims.

The law, Public Act 21-78 , expands the definition of family violence to include people who have been continuously controlled by a member of their family or household.

“By expanding the definition of family violence in Connecticut’s restraining order statute to address coercive control, we’ll be able to ensure court-ordered relief for the many non-physical tactics abusers use to gain and maintain control over their victims,” said Meghan Scanlon, president and CEO of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCA| DV), which helped write the law. “I’m excited about this law, she said. “I think it’s vital to how we address domestic violence going forward.”

How does someone exert coercive control?

“It can be isolation, it can be intimidation, monitoring communications, behavior, finances, even committing or threatening to commit cruelty to animals,” Scanlon said.

How else does the law help domestic violence victims?

In addition to allowing victims of non-physical abuse to obtain a restraining order, the new law also establishes a grant program to provide low-income survivors with access to legal help when they apply for a restraining order at one of five court locations.

“Having the support of a lawyer to assist the victim with clearly stating the facts when making the application can have a meaningful impact on the success of their application and overall safety,” the coalition said in a news release. [source]

While the overwhelming majority of cases involve the abuse of women by their husbands or domestic partners, domestic violence and abuse are experienced every day by seniors, teens in dating relationships, the disabled, and LBGTQX people from every socio-economic and ethnic group.

In addition to expanded legal recourse, Connecticut has a variety of resources to help at every stage. Victims can access help immediately and anonymously, 24/7 — call or text 1-888-774-2900.

If you want to discuss your options with a compassionate lawyer, please call Berman & Russo, (860) 644-1548.