Senator McLachlan Votes to Protect Domestic Violence Victims

May 2, 2018

Hartford – State Senator Michael McLachlan on Tuesday voted for a bill to eliminate the often unfair requirement to arrest both parties in a domestic violence situation.  The bill allows police to determine who the dominant aggressor is and only arrest that person.

“For more than 30 years, Connecticut law enforcement have been required to arrest the victim, as well as the abuser when called to a domestic violence situation. This has been devastating for the victims of domestic violence and is believed to have deterred victims from reporting their abusers and seeking help,” Sen. McLachlan said. “That’s why I voted to change the law and, hopefully, change the lives of victims in our state.”

Senate Bill 466, An Act Concerning Dual Arrests and the Training Required of Law Enforcement Personnel with Respect to Domestic Violence, unanimously passed in the Senate.  The bill adds a dominant aggressor provision to the laws enabling police to arrest the person who poses the most serious ongoing threat in a situation involving a suspected family violence crime.

“Connecticut’s intimate partner violence dual arrest is more than twice the national average,” Sen. McLachlan said. “By joining 27 other states with similar laws, we hope to reduce the number of dual arrests. By giving police the ability to practice more discretion when two people accuse each other of domestic violence, this bill could help prevent abusers from exploiting relationships when they know a partner is reluctant or unwilling to call police.  We want to create a system which makes victims feel safe.”

Angela C. Schlingheyde, director of Civil Legal & Court Advocacy Services for the Bridgeport-based Center for Family Justice, Inc., added,  “Connecticut has long been a leader in advancing policy and practice that protects victims of domestic violence and holds offenders accountable. However, for more than 30 years, Connecticut has struggled with one of the country’s highest dual arrest rates. In Connecticut, approximately 20% of the time, both the victim and the abuser are arrested at the scene of an intimate partner violence incident. This is more than twice the national average of 7%. This practice is detrimental to victims, their families, and Connecticut’s criminal justice system. We know that Connecticut can do better, and Senate Bill 466 will help us!”

More information on Senate Bill 466: