Helping Victims of Domestic Abuse – High Priority for 2018

February 20, 2018
Enfield PRess

Senator John A. Kissel (R-Enfield) applauds local leaders in Domestic Violence Awareness – Annalisa Deal, Mary Davenport and Rachel Walsh from The Network.

By: Senator John A. Kissel

As a Co-Chairman of the General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee there are many serious proposals that come across my desk. One proposal has to do with dual arrests, which ultimately speaks to helping victims of domestic abuse. This is a high priority for our committee this legislative session and a piece of legislation that I will be supporting.

A dual arrest occurs when law enforcement arrests both parties at an intimate partner violence incident. Connecticut currently has a mandatory arrest law for all incidents of family violence for which law enforcement finds probable cause – unfortunately this law has resulted in a high dual arrest rate since its adoption in the late 1980’s. To be clear, there is no one to blame for this situation and law enforcement is just doing its job in the existing structure of our family violence laws.

Can you imagine being a victim of domestic abuse and finally working up the courage to call the police and then in-turn be placed under arrest yourself? A dual arrest can have a devastating impact on a victim not only financially, but emotionally.

The good news is we have the opportunity in the Judiciary Committee this year to make changes to our current laws to help reduce our dual arrest rate here in Connecticut.

This session I will be supporting legislation that will help make changes to our current laws. These changes include – structural modifications to laws governing family violence arrest policies, development of a universal training curriculum for use across law enforcement systems, and the development of a comprehensive approach to family violence data collection and reporting requirements across the state.

Domestic violence is a heart-wrenching situation that many individuals face. I hope that by working together in the Judiciary Committee we will be able to help these individuals and families, help them to feel safe to call law enforcement when they are in danger without fear of being arrested themselves.