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State Strengthens Laws Protecting Victims of Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence

Gov. Dannel Malloy signed the bill late last week.

State Strengthens Laws Protecting Victims of Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence

By Ron DeRosa

If someone is a victim of sexual assault in Connecticut, then they now have the ability in certain situations to terminate a rental agreement without penalty.

This is just one aspect of a package of laws protecting domestic violence and sexual assault victims put into effect last Friday after Gov. Dannel Malloy signed the measures into law. 

In a news release, the governor's office said the laws are continuing a trend to better coordinate services to best assist survivors of these crimes.

Here are some aspects of the new legislation as they pertain to the state's criminal justice system:

  • Requiring probation officers to provide notice of suspected probation violations assigned to victim advocates.
  • Requiring state courts to maintain separate, secure rooms in certain courthouses to be utilized privately by survivors and victim advocates.
  • Permitting a sexual assault survivor to terminate a rental agreement without penalty under some circumstances.
  • Requiring the Judicial Branch to develop a plan to include temporary financial support as part of the relief available to domestic violence survivors through the civil restraining order.
  • Requiring the Judicial Branch to make the family violence training program for judges, Judicial Branch personnel, and court clerks available to guardians ad litem.

Killingly State Rep. Mae Flexer, a vocal advocate for this bill, said the new measures will help victims avoid the "devastating effects" an abusive relationship can have on finances, as well as "enables victims to meet privately with victim advocates in our courthouses.”

“Over the past several years, our state has made a number of alterations to how we respond to domestic violence, recognizing that when a person is faced with this matter, it impacts almost every aspect of their lives,” Malloy said.  “While we’ve made great strides in improving services, we can do more – not only within our criminal justice system, but also with other matters, such as housing and financial issues."

Click here to read the full text of the legislation.

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