Location:
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE;

OLR Research Report


October 2, 2009

 

2009-R-0349

SUMMARY OF FAMILY VIOLENCE LAWS

By: Sandra Norman-Eady, Chief Attorney

You asked for a summary of Connecticut's family violence laws, including all major changes by year.

SUMMARY

Since 1977, Connecticut has had laws designed to protect spouses from domestic abuse. Initially, the law sought to provide this protection by authorizing courts to grant protective orders. In 1986, Connecticut enacted a comprehensive family violence act. Among other things, the law defines family violence, gives police officers and courts directions on handling family violence cases, and requires the Judicial Department to maintain family violence intervention units in each of its geographical areas.

Domestic violence laws have been amended almost every year since 1986. The amendments are both civil and criminal in nature and cover aspects of family violence ranging from the definition of a family or household member to the creation of an address protection program.

CONNECTICUT'S FAMILY VIOLENCE LAWS

Family Violence Defined

Connecticut law defines “family violence” as an incident between family or household members that either causes physical injury or creates fear that physical injury is about to occur. Verbal abuse or argument is not considered family violence unless there is present danger and the likelihood that physical violence will occur. The discipline of minor children by parents or guardians is not considered family violence unless abuse occurs. Family violence is not a separate criminal offense. Crimes that may be charged as a family violence offense include assault, kidnapping, and sexual assault. Those who engage in violence against a spouse or family member can be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the facts of the case.

“Family or household members” are spouses, former spouses, parents and their children; people age 18 or older related by blood or marriage; people age 16 or older either living together or who have lived together; people who have a child together whether or not they are or have been married or have lived together; and people in, or who were recently in, a dating relationship (CGS 46b-38a).

Restraining Order

Any family or household member who has been subjected to a continuous threat of present physical pain or physical injury by a family or household member may apply to the Superior Court for a restraining order. A restraining order differs from a protective order in that restraining orders are civil and can be issued without the accused person being arrested. Protective orders are criminal and are issued after the accused has been arrested for committing a family violence crime. However, courts may issue standing criminal restraining orders when they believe the history and character of the offender and circumstances warrant it (see below).

To obtain a restraining order the victim must file an application and affidavit with the court stating the condition from which relief is sought. The court must hold a hearing within 14 days of receipt of the application and give the alleged offender at least five days notice before the hearing. But the court may issue an order without notice or hearing if there is an immediate and present physical danger to the applicant (i.e., ex parte order). The Judicial Branch pays the fee for serving notice.

The court includes in the order any provisions necessary to protect a victim from injury or intimidation, including requirements for temporary child custody or visitation rights. But each restraining order, except an ex parte order, must state that (1) the court issuing it had jurisdiction to do so; (2) the respondent was given notice and the opportunity to be heard; and (3) it is valid in all 50 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, U.S. territories or possessions, and on tribal lands. (Valid foreign protection

orders are registered in this state through the Superior Court and, in compliance with the federal Violence Against Women Act, enforced as if they were issued in this state (CGS 46b-15a)).

The order is effective for six months unless extended by the court upon the applicant's or its own motion. Anyone violating the order can be held in contempt of court. Additionally, entering or remaining on property in violation of the order constitutes first-degree criminal trespass. Any motion for contempt based on a restraining order violation is heard at an expedited hearing held within five court days of the date the motion is served, provided service is not less than 24-hours before the hearing (CGS 46b-15). In any such court proceeding the court may order out-of-court testimony for parties under restraining orders, including by videoconference. (CGS 46b-15c)

Lastly, a person is guilty of criminal violation of a restraining order when he or she is the target of a restraining order; knows the terms of the order; and violates the order by contracting, failing to stay away from, restraining, or threatening or assaulting another person. Criminal violation of a restraining order is a class D felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, a $5,000 fine, or both (CGS 53a-223b).

Police Approach

The law outlines appropriate action by police responding to family violence crimes. With one exception, the police must arrest the person or persons suspected of committing the violence and charge them with the appropriate crime. However, a police officer does not have to arrest a party he or she reasonably believes used force as a means of self defense.

In making their decision whether to arrest, the police may not take into account the relationship of the victim and suspect or whether the victim wants the suspect arrested, except an arrest is not mandatory when the parties are in a dating relationship. The police may not discourage intervention requests by threatening or suggesting the arrest of the victim and suspect. When the police receive complaints from two or more opposing parties, they must evaluate each complaint separately to determine whether to make an arrest or seek an arrest warrant. If no cause exists for an arrest, the officer must remain on the scene until the likelihood of imminent violence is eliminated (CGS 46b-38b).

Upon determining that a family violence crime has been committed, a police officer may seize any firearm or electronic defense weapon in the possession of the suspect or in plain view and return it not later than seven days thereafter unless the owner is prohibited from possessing it or a court orders otherwise. A person may be prohibited from owning a gun for several reasons, including a restraining order prevents it.

Police officers must also help victims get medical treatment, inform them of their right to file an affidavit or warrant for arrest, inform them of services available to victims, and refer them to the Office of Victim Services (CGS 46b-38b).

Reports

Police officers responding to a family violence incident must complete a family violence offense report whether or not an arrest is made. All arrests must be reported to the public safety commissioner on a form prescribed by him that includes the parties' ages and sex; whether weapons were used; the existence of substance abuse; the existence of any prior court orders; and an indication of whether children were involved or present. A copy of the report is sent to the state's attorney in the judicial district where the arrest was made. Anyone who fails to make such a report can be fined up to $500. The commissioner must compile statistics on family violence crimes and publish them annually (CGS 46b-38d).

Additionally, the Judicial Department's Court Support Services Division must maintain a statistical summary of all family violence cases referred to its units. Its report must include the number of cases referred, the nature of the cases, and the charges and dispositions. The division must submit the report to the Department of Public Safety monthly (CGS 46b-38f).

Police Immunity

Police are exempt from civil liability for personal or property injury when a party brings a family violence action for an arrest based on probable cause or for any conditions of release. By law, if a person is arrested for a family violence offense and the police officer does not intend to impose certain specified conditions of release, the officer must (1) release the arrestee on a written promise to appear or (2) set a bond amount and release any arrestee who posts it. These conditions include an order for the defendant to have no contact with the victim (CGS 46b-38b (c) and 54-63c).

Pretrial Family Violence Education Program

There is a Pretrial Family Violence Education program for people who are charged with family violence crimes. A defendant can ask the court to place him or her in the program. If placed in the program, the defendant is released to the custody of a family violence intervention unit for up to two years under such condition as the court orders. If the defendant successfully completes the program, the charges will be dismissed. If the defendant violates the program's conditions, he or she will be brought to trial. In order to qualify for the program the following conditions must be present.

1. The crime charged must not be more serious than a misdemeanor, or if there is good cause, a class D felony. For example, anyone charged with first-degree assault or risk of injury to a minor is ineligible.

2. The defendant must not have previously participated in the program.

3. The defendant must not have been convicted of, or accepted accelerated rehabilitation for, a family violence crime committed after October 1, 1986.

The court must notify the victim of the defendant's request for the program and, if possible, give the victim an opportunity to be heard. The defendant must, if he or she is able, pay a $200 fee to the court to participate in the program (CGS 46b-38c (g) & (h)).

Family Violence Response and Intervention Units

The Judicial Department, through the Court Support Services, has a family violence intervention unit in each geographical area court. The units are coordinated and governed by a formal agreement between the Judicial Department and the chief state's attorney. The units must:

1. accept family violence referrals from judges or prosecutors,

2. prepare written or oral reports on each case for the court,

3. provide or arrange for victim and offender services,

4. administer contracts to carry out these services, and

5. establish centralized reporting procedures.

Each unit must use information given to it to prepare the report and protective order forms for each case and recommend services. The information is otherwise confidential, retained in each unit's files, and protected against a subpoena or use in any other way in court proceedings, except the family relations officer must disclose to the court and prosecutor information obtained from a victim about a defendant having a gun permit.

The unit's report and recommendations are available to the judge at the first court appearance. The judge may impose conditions to protect the parties, including issuance of a protective order or an order prohibiting further violence against the victim, referral to a family violence education program for batterers, and immediate referral for more extensive case assessment. The chief court administrator maintains an automated registry of protective orders issued by the courts, which may be accessed by agencies determined by the administrator as having a legitimate interest.

The court clerk sends a certified copy of the protective order to the victim and within 48 hours to the appropriate law enforcement agency. The order may include any actions necessary to protect a victim from injury or intimidation, including an order prohibiting the offender from assaulting, threatening, molesting, or restraining the victim or entering the family's or victim's dwelling. The order is a condition of bail or release. Criminal violation of a protective order is a class D felony (CGS 53a-223). Entering or remaining on property in violation of the order constitutes criminal trespass in the first degree, which is also a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison, a $2,000 fine, or both (CGS 53a-107). In addition to these penalties, courts may raise or revoke the offender's bail or release for a violation (CGS 46b-38c).

Standing Criminal Restraining Order

Courts may issue standing criminal restraining orders, in addition to any sentence of incarceration, against people convicted of the following crimes committed against a family or household member:

1. first and second degree assault;

2. first and second degree assault of a victim age 60 or older;

3. second and third degree assault with a firearm;

4. second degree assault of a victim 60 or older with a firearm;

5. first, second, and third degree sexual assault;

6. first degree aggravated sexual assault;

7. sexual assault in a spousal or cohabiting relationship;

8. stalking; and

9. criminal violation of a protective or restraining order.

The court may issue such an order when it believes that the history and character of the offender and the nature and circumstances of the offense indicate that the order will best serve the interest of the victim and the public. It must remain in effect until modified or revoked by the court for good cause. The order may include enjoining the offender from (1) restraining the victim; (2) threatening, harassing, assaulting, molesting, sexually assaulting, or attacking the victim; or (3) entering the victim's home. The law specifies some of the language that must appear in the order, including the penalty for a violation and the fact that it must remain in effect until altered by the court. Violation of a standing criminal restraining order is a class D felony (CGS 53a-40e and 53a-223a).

When the subject of a standing criminal restraining order is released from prison or completes his term of probation or parole, the commissioner of correction or the parole or probation officer must notify or remind the offender of the order's existence, the terms of the order, and the penalty for violation. They must give the offender a copy of the order (CGS 53a-40e).

Domestic Violence Training

Police. Each law enforcement agency has, in conjunction with the Division of Criminal Justice, developed specific operational guidelines for arrest policies in family violence incidents. The guidelines include procedures for conducting the investigation, procedures for arrest and victim assistance, education on what constitutes speedy information in a family violence incident, procedures for providing services to victims, and any other applicable criteria (CGS 46b-38b(e)).

The Police Officer Standards and Training Council, in conjunction with the Division of Criminal Justice, has set up education and training programs for police and state's attorneys on handling family violence incidents. The training includes (1) criminal law enforcement in family violence cases and the use of community resources; (2) the nature, extent, and causes of family violence; (3) the legal rights of victims and offenders; (4) the services available to victims and batterers; (5) the legal duty of officers to make arrests and offer protection and assistance; and (6) techniques for handling incidents that minimize the likelihood of injury to the officer and promote the victim's safety (CGS 46b-38b(f)).

Judicial Department. The Judicial Department has ongoing family violence training for judges, court support services division personnel, and clerks, including information on the function of the family violence intervention units and the use of restraining and protective orders (CGS 46b-38c (i)).

Children

The law requires the chief court administrator, within available appropriations, to set up programs for children affected by domestic violence (CGS 46b-38g).

Insurance

It is unfair insurance competition and an unfair and deceptive insurance practice or act for insurance companies, hospital service corporations, health care centers, or fraternal benefit societies that provide individual, group, or limited benefit health coverage to treat family violence victims differently than other insureds by (1) refusing to insure or continue to insure or (2) limiting the amount, extent, or kind of coverage.

The health care providers affected by the act provide individual or group health insurance coverage for basic hospital, basic medical-surgical, major medical, accidental, hospital or medical service plan contract, or hospital and medical coverage provided by a health care center (CGS 38a-816).

Unemployment Compensation

An individual who, despite reasonable efforts to stay employed, voluntarily quits a job in order to protect him or herself or a family member from domestic violence is eligible for unemployment compensation benefits (CGS 31-236 (a)).

Address Confidentiality

Victims of family violence may register with the office of the Secretary of the State to have their residential addresses treated confidentially. The address confidentiality program provides a substitute mailing address to victims of family violence who, for safety reasons, wish to keep their residential address secret (CGS 54-240a).

REVISIONS TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LAWS BY YEAR

An Act Concerning Responsible Fatherhood and Strong Families (PA 09-175)

The act requires the Department of Social Services' commissioner, within available resources, to seek federal and private funds to provide grants to promote programs supporting the positive involvement and interaction of fathers with their children. Those seeking grants must apply to the commissioner by a date and in a manner he determines. The commissioner sets eligibility and award criteria and must require applicants to:

1. implement accountability measures and results-based outcomes as a condition of being awarded the grant;

2. leverage funds through existing resources and collaboration with community-based and nonprofit organizations; and

3. consult with experts in family violence to ensure that, when appropriate, the programs and services described above address issues concerning family violence.

An Act Concerning Certain State Programs and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (09-3)

This act makes an employee eligible for unemployment compensation if he or she voluntarily leaves her job to protect his or her child, regardless of where the child lives, from becoming or remaining a victim of family violence. It also makes the employee eligible for unemployment compensation if he or she quits to protect his or her spouse or parent from such violence.  By law, the employee must make a reasonable effort to preserve the employment.

An Act Concerning the Protection of Family Violence Victims In Family Relations Matters and The Notification of A Family or Household Member After a Motor Vehicle Fatality (PA 08-67)

The act authorizes the Superior Court, in any family relations matter, to order that the testimony of a party or a child who is a subject of the proceeding be taken outside the physical presence of any other party if (1) a protective order, restraining order, or standing criminal restraining order has been issued on behalf of the party or child and (2) the other party is subject to the protective order or restraining order. The court may do so, within available resources, upon the motion of the attorney for any party.

An Act Concerning Domestic Violence (PA 07-123)

The act:

1. expands the circumstances under which a court may issue a standing criminal restraining order,

2. establishes release procedures for police officers to follow when someone is arrested for committing a family violence crime,

3. absolves police officers of liability in any civil action for personal or property injuries resulting from the release conditions,

4. makes family violence arrestees guilty of a crime if they intentionally violate a nonfinancial condition of release set by a police officer, and

5. allows law enforcement officers to seize any electronic defense weapon that is in plain view or possessed by the arrestee at a family violence crime site.  

An Act Concerning the Protection of Pets in Domestic Violence Cases (PA 07-78)

The act permits courts to issue protective orders for animals owned or kept by victims of family violence, stalking, or harassment.  The orders may, at a minimum, prohibit respondents or defendants from injuring or threatening to injure the animals.  In family violence cases, the order may be in the form of a civil restraining, or criminal protective order.

An Act Concerning the Issuance and Violation of Restraining and Protective Orders (PA 05-147)

This act increases the penalty for criminal violation of a restraining order from a class A misdemeanor to a class D felony, thus making the penalty the same as that for criminal violation of a protective order or a standing criminal restraining order.

It permits a court to issue a standing criminal restraining order when a person is convicted of criminal violation of a protective order or attempt or conspiracy to commit this crime. Like such restraining orders issued in other cases, the court must find that the (1) victim is a member of the offender's family or household member and (2) order will best serve the victim and public's interest given the history, character, nature, and circumstances of the crime. Under existing law standing criminal restraining orders are effective until they are modified or revoked by the court.

The act permits a court to issue a protective order when someone is arrested for 1st or 2nd degree harassment if it finds that the crime victim reasonably feared for his safety.

Lastly, the act removes a requirement that the targets of foreign orders of protection have had notice and an opportunity for a hearing before the orders were issued in order to be guilty in this state of crimes that specifically apply to the targets of protective or restraining orders issued here. These crimes are 1st degree criminal trespass, criminal possession of a firearm or electronic defense weapon, criminal possession of a pistol or revolver, and criminal violation of a restraining order.

An Act Concerning Dual Arrests in Family Violence Cases (PA 04-66)

This act creates an exception to the general requirement for peace officers to arrest anyone they suspect has committed a family violence crime. It relieves an officer of his duty to arrest any party that he reasonably believes used force only as a means of self-defense against family violence. The procedures or criteria for making this determination should be included in each law enforcement agency's operational guidelines for arrest policies in family violence incidents, as required by law.

An Act Concerning an Address Confidentiality Program (PA 03-200)

This act establishes an address confidentiality program within the secretary of the state's office. The program provides a substitute mailing address (mailbox and fictitious street numbers) to, among others, victims of family violence who, for safety reasons, wish to keep their residential address secret. The act makes participants' residential, work, and school addresses exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.

The act requires public agencies to accept participants' program address in lieu of their actual residential address, unless the agency has received an exemption from the secretary of the state. The act specifies that program participation does not affect custody or visitation orders.

An Act Concerning Full Faith and Credit for Foreign Orders of Protection (PA 03-98)

To comply with the federal Violence Against Women Act, this act requires (1) state courts to give full faith and credit to valid foreign orders of protection and (2) courts and law enforcement officers to enforce them as state orders. A “foreign order of protection” is an injunctive or other court order to prevent violence, threatening acts, or harassment against; contact or communication with; or physical proximity to another person issued by another state; the District of Columbia; a U. S. commonwealth, territory, or possession; or an Indian tribe in response to a complaint, petition, or motion filed by or on behalf of a person seeking protection.

The act requires, rather than allows, courts that register foreign orders of protection to have them entered in the automated registry of protective orders maintained by the chief court administrator.

An Act Concerning the Court Support Services Division, Court Operations, Conciliation Procedures in a Dissolution of Marriage and Expansion of the Parenting Education Program (PA 02-132)

The act allows a family relations officer in a local family violence intervention unit to use information he or she receives in that capacity to prepare criminal protective order forms.

An Act Concerning Restraining and Protective Orders and the Reporting and Investigation of Suspected Abuse of Delinquent Children Committed to the Commissioner of Children and Families (PA 02-127)

The act (1) increases the penalty for violating a protective order, (2) makes violating a family violence restraining order a separate crime, (3) subjects restraining order violators to enhanced penalties as persistent offenders, (4) requires state marshals to give copies of ex parte restraining orders to police officers, and (5) specifies information that courts must give to restraining order applicants.

An Act Concerning the Seizure of Firearms in Family Violence Cases, the Transfer of Firearms by Persons Ineligible to Possess Such Firearms and the Possession of Certain Assault Weapons (PA 02-120)

The act (1) allows a peace officer to seize a firearm in plain view at the scene of a family violence crime even if no arrest is made; (2) expands the circumstances under which the firearm may be seized to include crimes involving dating relationships; (3) allows for the seizure from someone suspected of committing a crime but not arrested; and (4) increases, from up to 48 hours to up to seven days, the time a peace officer has to return a firearm seized at a domestic violence crime scene to its rightful owner.

An Act Concerning Assault Weapons, a Single State Handgun Permit, a Firearms Evidence Databank and Restraining and Protective Orders in Firearms Cases (PA 01-130)

The act makes it criminal possession of a firearm or electronic defense weapon (a class D felony) for a family violence offender to possess any of these weapons knowing that he or she is subject to a restraining or protective order that was issued after notice and an opportunity for a hearing.

The act requires local family violence intervention units' family relations officers to tell the court and prosecutors if a family violence victim has indicated that an offender has a gun permit or a gun.

An Act Concerning Domestic Violence and Assault of a Pregnant Person (PA 99-186)

This act:

1. establishes a procedure for registering protective orders issued out of state;

2. prohibits police and the bail commissioner from releasing on a promise to appear or nonsurety bond anyone charged with committing a family violence crime by using or threatening to use a firearm;

3. expands application of the family violence law to include people who are, or recently were, in a dating relationship;

4. authorizes peace officers to seize firearms when making arrests for domestic violence;

5. specifies the conditions of release for all defendants charged with a family violence crime rather than just those charged with certain felonies; and

6. allows anyone who is, or recently has been, in a dating relationship and who is continuously threatened with harm to apply for a restraining order under the same conditions and subject to the same procedure as family violence victims.

An Act Extending Unemployment Compensation Benefits to Domestic Abuse Victims (PA 99-123)

This act makes employees who voluntarily leave their job to protect themselves or a child living with them from family violence eligible for unemployment compensation. They must have made reasonable efforts to keep their job.

An Act Concerning Standing Criminal Restraining Orders (PA 98-15)

The act allows courts to issue a standing criminal restraining order when someone commits a stalking crime against a family or household member.

An Act Concerning Domestic Violence (PA 97-126)

The act requires domestic violence restraining and protective orders to state that (1) the court issuing the order had jurisdiction to do so; (2) the respondent was given notice and the opportunity to be heard; and (3) it is valid in all 50 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, U.S. territories or possessions, and on tribal lands.

It makes it unfair insurance competition and an unfair and deceptive insurance practice or act for insurance companies, hospital service corporations, health care centers, or fraternal benefit societies that provide limited benefit health coverage to treat family violence victims differently than other insureds by (1) refusing to insure or continue to insure or (2) limiting the amount, extent, or kind of coverage.

An Act Concerning Welfare Reform and The Expenditures Of The Department of Social Services (PA 97-2, June 18 Special Session)

The act exempts Temporary Family Assistance applicants and recipients who are victims of family violence from job training, work placement assistance, subsidized and unsubsidized employment, and child support enforcement requirements. It defines a domestic violence victim as someone who has been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by (1) physical acts that resulted in, or threatened to result in, physical injury; (2) sexual abuse; (3) sexual activity involving a child in the home; (4) being forced to participate in sexual acts; (5) mental abuse; or (6) neglect or medical care deprivation.

An Act Concerning Computerized Information Sharing… Appropriations For The Fiscal Years Ending June 30, 1997, 1998, 1999…And Expenses of the Connecticut Siting Council (PA 97-11, June 18 Special Session)

The act transfers $150,000 of the Education Department's Education Cost Sharing grant appropriation for FYs 1997-98 and 1998-99 to fund an interdistrict abuse and neglect domestic violence education program for children age five to 12.

An Act Concerning Domestic Violence (PA 96-228)

The act authorizes the court to issue a standing criminal restraining order against people convicted of certain assault and sexual assault crimes when it determines such an order is in the best interest of the victim and the public. The act specifies the subjects and contents of such an order, penalties for violations, and notification procedures.

Subject of an Order. The act allows the court to issue standing criminal restraining orders, in addition to any sentence of incarceration, against people convicted of the following crimes committed against a family or household member: first and second degree assault of a victim age 60 or older; second and third degree assault with a firearm; second degree assault of a victim 60 or older with a firearm; first degree aggravated sexual assault; sexual assault in a spousal or cohabiting relationship; and first, second, and third degree sexual assault.

The court may issue such an order when it believes that the history and character of the offender and the nature and circumstances of the offense indicate that the order will best serve the interest of the victim and the public. It must remain in effect until modified or revoked by the court for good cause.

Content of the Order. The order may include enjoining the offender from (1) restraining the victim; (2) threatening, harassing, assaulting, molesting, sexually assaulting, or attacking the victim; or (3) entering the victim's home. The act specifies some of the language that must appear in the order, including the penalty for a violation and the fact that it must remain in effect until altered by the court.

Penalty for Violation. Violation of a standing criminal restraining order by the person against whom the order is issued is a class D felony which is punishable by imprisonment for one to five years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

Notification. When the subject of a standing criminal restraining order is released from prison or completes his or her term of probation or parole, the commissioner of correction or the parole or probation officer must notify or remind the offender of the order's existence, terms, and penalties for violations. The commissioner or officer, as appropriate, must give the offender a copy of the order.

An Act Concerning the Reporting, Investigation, and Prosecution of Child Abuse and the Termination of Parental Rights (PA 96-246)

This act authorizes the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to consider the effect of family violence in any child abuse investigation and help family members obtain protection. It establishes an 18-member coordinating council to increase family violence awareness and help reduce its incidence. Council members consist of the attorney general; DCF, public health, and public safety commissioners; chief state's attorney; chief court administrator; executive directors of the Connecticut Police Chief's Association and the Council on Domestic Violence; Judiciary Committee chairmen and ranking members; and six public members.

The council is responsible for:

1. identifying and evaluating family violence services,

2. promoting new laws and services,

3. studying court and law enforcement procedures,

4. reviewing criminal justice data collection and analysis,

5. ensuring coordination among agencies and other entities,

6. promoting multi-disciplinary training,

7. promoting effective prevention and treatment techniques,

8. recommending treatment programs and standards to agencies and service providers,

9. promoting and supporting local family violence councils, and

10. increasing public awareness.

The act specifies that these provisions are not intended to (1) interfere with the authority or responsibility of existing agencies or (2) limit the state's authority to seek relief under the law.

An Act Concerning Domestic Violence (PA 95-193)

This act expands, from 90 days to six months, the maximum period within which a protective order may be effective without a court-ordered extension.

It also makes it unfair insurance competition and an unfair and deceptive insurance practice or act for certain insurance companies, hospital service corporations, health care centers, or fraternal benefit societies to treat family violence victims differently than other insureds by (1) refusing to insure or continue to insure or (2) limiting the amount, extent, or kind of coverage.

The health care providers affected by the act provide individual or group health insurance coverage for basic hospital, basic medical-surgical, major medical, accidental, hospital or medical service plan contract, or hospital and medical coverage provided by a health care center.

An Act Concerning Domestic Violence (PA 93-280)

This act requires the chief court administrator to establish programs, within available appropriations, for children who are affected by domestic violence and appropriates $112,500 and $150,000 for this purpose during fiscal years 1993-94 and 1994-95, respectively. It increases from $100 to $200, the fee for enrolling in the family violence education program, which was established in 1986 for people who are charged with family violence crimes. The court may waive the fee if it finds the defendant is unable to pay. The charges are dismissed if a person successfully completes the program.

An Act Concerning the Creation of a Protective Order Registry for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (PA 93-343)

This act requires the Public Safety Department, in cooperation with the chief court administrator, to establish a 24-hour protective order registry in the Connecticut On-Line Law Enforcement Communications Teleprocessing (COLLECT) system. The COLLECT system is a computerized data base maintained by the Department of Public Safety. Police have access to this system 24 hours a day and use it to check on such things as outstanding arrest warrants. The state apparently has the computer capability to connect the Judicial Department's police in the field to check on the status of existing protective orders.

An Act Concerning Family Violence (PA 91-381)

The act creates a new crime for anyone who violates the terms or conditions of a protective order issued against him and make violation a class A misdemeanor. It requires anyone accused of violating a protective order to be promptly brought before the court in the geographical area where the order was issued. And it requires protective orders to contain a notice that violation is a crime.

The act specifies the terms and conditions courts must include in protective orders and expressly allows judges to include any provisions necessary to protect a victim from threats, harassment, injury, or intimidation, including prohibiting harassment, assaulting, or restraining the victim or entering the family dwelling.

The act requires judges to make obeying the protective order a condition of bail or release. Lastly, it makes trespassing in violation of a protective order first-degree trespass.

An Act Concerning the Judicial Department (PA 91-24)

The act allows the court clerk to designate someone who is authorized to administer oaths to take sworn statements outside of open court from applicants for the Pretrial Family Violence Education Program.

An Act Concerning Court Imposed Fees in Certain Cases (PA 89-219)

This act increased the fee, from $50 to $100, for anyone participating in the Pretrial Family Violence Education Program.

An Act Concerning Domestic Violence (PA 87-567)

The act redefines “family violence crime” to exclude (1) nonabusive parental discipline and (2) verbal abuse or arguments that do not create a present danger and likelihood of physical violence.

The act also:

1. makes confidential information provided to a family relations officer in a local family violence intervention unit;

2. reduces, from $200 to $50, the cost of participating in the Pretrial Family Violence Education Program;

3. transfers from the Judicial Department to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund money for victim counselors within family violence intervention units;

4. makes ineligible for accelerated rehabilitation anyone charged with a family violence crime who is eligible for the Pretrial Family Violence Education Program; and

5. makes ineligible for accelerated rehabilitation anyone who has previously participated in the Pretrial Family Violence Education Program.

SNE:ts