This Lawmaker Is Taking On Connecticut’s Alarming Domestic Violence Problem

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A Connecticut lawmaker has been looking into ways to address the state’s high rate of domestic violence dual arrests.

Democratic State Sen. Mae Flexer led a roundtable discussion Tuesday on the issue with leaders from the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, as well as members of law enforcement and the judicial system. The group looked at ways to cut down on dual arrest cases, in which both the alleged abuser and victim are arrested and charged.

Connecticut’s rate of dual arrests is around 18% of all intimate partners cases — far higher than the national average, which is typically around 2%, according to ProPublica. In the state’s northern town of Windsor, 35% of intimate partner arrests in 2015 were dual arrests, ProPublica found.

“For far too long, we have been living under a set of rules that hinders a domestic violence victim’s ability to seek help or get justice. No victim should have to fear or endure the shame and humiliation of being arrested simply for seeking help in a dangerous — and even deadly — situation,” said Sen. Flexer in a press release.

She added: “And while we’ve made changes to improve law enforcement’s response to these crimes, it is clear we still need to explore changes to this practice which levies an added burden onto a victim of domestic violence at a time when the stakes are already so high.”

The panelists discussed various ways to address Connecticut’s dual arrest rate, including conducting a full examination of dual arrest data and any contributing factors, instituting policy changes and mandating a dual arrest/self-defense training for all officers tasked with training others on domestic violence laws. A full list of considerations can be found here.

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