(photo) Sen. Hwang Backs Heightened Protections for Domestic Violence Victims

May 16, 2023
For Immediate Release:

Attached photo, left to right:  Sen. Tony Hwang, CEO and President of The Center for Family Justice Debra A. Greenwood, and Mark Antonini, CFO and CAO of The Center for Family Justice.

Sen. Hwang Backs Senate Bill 5
to Heighten Protections for Domestic Violence Victims

Sen. Tony Hwang today applauded the State Senate’s passage of legislation to provide for greater protections for domestic violence (DV) victims, including ending the practice of allowing some abusers to receive alimony.

Senate Bill 5 would prohibit abusers from collecting alimony from their victims and expand the state’s DV offender electronic monitoring system. It awaits a vote in the Connecticut House of Representatives.

“The Center for Family Justice is truly appreciative to Sen. Hwang and our state lawmakers for their ongoing bipartisan efforts to assist and protect individuals, youth and families who are affected by domestic violence, sexual violence and child abuse.  With the 32% spike that we’ve seen in victims of abuse since the pandemic at CFJ, serving the greater Bridgeport area, S.B. 5 is critically important and is not only a life changer for victims and survivors, but lifesaving,” said Debra Greenwood, CEO/President, The Center for Family Justice (CFJ).

Currently, according to Angela Schlingheyde, Director of Civil Legal & Court Advocacy Service (CFJ), “An abuser can physically assault a victim, and then he/she could be ordered later in divorce court to pay him/her alimony. Senate Bill 5 will ensure that victims will not have to pay their convicted offenders alimony in divorce proceedings.  This bill also provides much needed protection for domestic violence victims through the expansion of the GPS tracking monitor program to protect victims from significantly documented risk.”

“I believe and support the needs of potential victims first,” Sen. Hwang said. “We, as a legislative body, are always looking to strengthen our domestic violence prevention laws, and this legislation can prevent tragedies and save lives. I am proud to co-sponsor these policies to raise awareness and support domestic survivors and their children.”

Last year, Sen. Hwang supported legislation prohibiting discrimination based on a person’s status as a domestic violence victim in employment, public accommodations, housing and the granting of credit.

In 2021, Sen. Hwang supported legislation coined “Jennifer’s Law” in honor of missing New Canaan mother Jennifer Dulos.  The law expanded the definition of domestic violence in state law to include “coercive control.” This means that threatening, humiliating, or intimidating acts that harm a person and deprive them of their freedom is now considered domestic violence. Jennifer’s Law also established a new program to provide legal representation for domestic violence victims who file restraining orders.

Sen. Hwang will participate in CFJ’s 11th Annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® event on Saturday, June 3 at the Fairfield Train Station Main Lot. Registration starts at 8 AM and the walk will begin at 9 AM. To register, or to look up sponsorship possibilities, go to bit.ly/cfjwam2023.  Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is a fun and engaging community awareness event that engages men and boys to take the first step (pun intended) to end violence against women and girls during Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse Awareness Month.

Here are some key statistics on domestic and sexual violence and how to reach out for help:

  • More than 43 million women and 38 million men have been the victim of psychological aggression by an intimate partner, the CDC says.
  • In the 2021 fiscal year, Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence served 38,989 victims and received 41,654 calls for help. 2,950 domestic violence victims received housing support in Connecticut in 2021 through the CCADV.
  • Domestic violence shelters operated at 156% capacity in 2021. The average amount of time that a victim remained in a shelter was 51.1 days. Of those who received housing support, 100% of victims reported that their children felt safer and 93% said they felt safer, according to the CCADV
  • Help is available 24/7 via call, email, text or live chat through CT Safe Connect at CTSafeConnect.org or 888-774-2900. The National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached at 800-799-SAFE.

An overview of domestic violence in the United States:

  • Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crimes annually in the United States.
  • More than 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced either physical violence, rape, or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Victims are commonly abused by those who are closest to them.
  • Each day in the United States, over 20,000 calls are placed to domestic violence hotlines by individuals reporting incidents.
  • On average, 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner. This is an astounding number that shows just how prevalent this is in our society.
  • A weapon is used in 19% of domestic violence incidents.

Women who are victims of intimate partner violence are most likely to be between the ages of 18 to 24.

Connecticut’s free, confidential domestic violence hotline can be reached 24/7 at 1-888-774-2900 for services in English and 1-844-831-9200 for services in Spanish.

On the web: SenatorHwang.com.

*Sen. Hwang represents Bethel, Easton, Fairfield, Southport, Newtown and Sandy Hook.  Sen. Hwang was honored to be in the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s inaugural First 100 Plus Men Honor Roll in 2012.