Hwang votes to end CT’s dual arrest policy for domestic violence

Sen. Tony Hwang (R-Fairfield) on April 2 voted in favor of measure which aims to better protect victims by ending Connecticut’s dual arrest policy for domestic violence.

A dual arrest occurs when law enforcement arrests both parties at an intimate partner violence incident.  The term ‘intimate partner’ refers to spouses, former spouses, individuals who are dating, or individuals who have a child in common. Connecticut currently has a mandatory arrest law for all incidents of family violence for which law enforcement finds probable cause.

Sen. Hwang, who is co-sponsoring the bill, said, “As the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence has noted, imagine what it would be like to finally summon up the courage to reach out for help or to call the police during an incident when you feel your life is in danger, only to end up being arrested yourself.  What are the chances this victim will ever reach out for help again? Under this legislation, police would instead be called upon to practice more discretion whenever two people accuse each other of domestic violence. This change aims to 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!”

The bill, which also has the support of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the state Division of Criminal Justice, was passed overwhelmingly by the legislature’s Judiciary Committee and now awaits a vote in the State Senate.

More information on Senate Bill 466: cga.ct.gov/2018/TOB/s/2018SB-00466-R00-SB.htm

Sen. Hwang represents Easton, Fairfield, Newtown, Weston and Westport. On the web: SenatorHwang.com. He can be reached at [email protected] and at 800-842-1421.

Sen. Tony Hwang speaks to the Center for Family Justice in 2016.

Sen. Tony Hwang speaks to the Center for Family Justice in 2016.

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