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Interval House History

Saving lives, Giving a Voice, Changing the Future

Asylum Hill Congregational ChurchThe year was 1976 and domestic violence was a growing issue in Connecticut. Women were calling rape crisis hotlines as no other hotlines were available at this time. Domestic Violence was considered a ‘family problem’ and adequate protective laws were not yet in place. Animal shelters had been around for decades yet women had no safe place to go.

Three groups of concerned Hartford women took action and started domestic violence support groups and hotlines, some from their own homes.

The women represented were from Asylum Hill Congregational Church, a support group for female victims led by Cecile Enrico, and a group of concerned community women. All saw the problem and wanted to help. All recognized the need for safety and services for victims of domestic violence and pledged to provide programs and support aimed at eliminating abuse. The three groups met and merged forces and in February of 1977 Interval House was incorporated with Cecile Enrico as the Executive Director.

In April of 1978, the 20-bed women’s safe house opened its doors in a confidential location to serve as an ‘interval’ of safety where women could assess their situation and make choices for themselves and their children. Since then, Interval House has made a positive difference in the lives of more than 225,000 women, children (and a small percentile of men) that have experienced psychological and physical abuse at the hands of a domestic or intimate partner.

Our nonprofit organization strives to prevent and break the cycle of abuse. On site, our crisis counselors are available to meet with the women upon arrival. Comprehensive domestic violence services are offered to clients free of charge.

A satellite office, known as Interval House East, opened in Manchester in February 1994 to better serve the 11 towns east of the Connecticut River. By establishing offices at locations more convenient for clients, Interval House is better able to provide direct services.

In January of 2017, Mary-Jane Foster, a Bridgeport businesswoman and community activist, became Interval House’s new President and CEO. Foster succeeds triumvirate co-founder Cecile Enrico who retired in the spring of 2016.
In February of 2017 Interval House proudly celebrated it’s 40th year!

Today, Interval House provides 24-hour hotline(s), safety planning, crisis counseling, emergency safe housing, support groups, criminal and civil court advocacy, information and referrals, community education and outreach as well as programs for the children of clients.

Domestic Violence and Interval House Timeline

Spring 2017

Gov. Malloy signs legislation strengthening CT’s DV and anti-stalking laws. Some of the changes include:

  • Amending stalking statutes to include social media, telephone and other forms of harassment, and
  • Strangulation statutes are broadened to include suffocation

Gov. Dannel Malloy

Winter 2017

Lethality Assessment ProgramThe Lethality Assessment Program (LAP) has expanded to include all of CCADV’s 18 member organizations and 88 police departments including the CT State Police and several college campus public safety departments.

IH partners with 21 departments and troops within their catchment area.

January 1, 2017

Mary Jane Foster; Bridgeport business woman, lawyer, and longtime community activist becomes the new President and CEO of Interval House.

Ms. Foster has roots in domestic violence going back to 1989.

Mary Jane Foster

Spring 2016

Cecile EnricoCecile Enrico; longtime executive director and founding member of Interval House announces her retirement ending her nearly 40 years of service in the cause against domestic violence.

Interval House’s board of directors hires interim director, Catherine Bradshaw.

Winter 2016

Interval House enters into two new collaborative partnerships:

  • PROJECT SAFE with Hartford Behavioral Health. This collaboration is designed to enhance services to survivors by providing clinical services, advocacy and case management.
  • Office of Adult Probation / Hartford: An advocate is co-located at Hartford Adult Probation Domestic Violence Unit to follow up with the protected parties on Hartford (GA14) DV convictions that include probation.

Project SAVE

Fall 2016

Legislation is passed requiring gun owners to surrender their firearms within 24 hours of being served with a temporary restraining order in domestic violence cases.

Current law requires gun owners to surrender their arms only if a judge issues a permanent restraining order, leaving guns in the home during the volatile period when a victim may be exiting an abusive relationship

Summer 2015

Effective July 1, 2015: Victim confidentiality statutes for victims of sexual assault (are amended to include victims of sexual assault, injury or risk of injury, impairing the morals of a child and victims of family violence.

Winter 2014

Legislation goes into effect on January 1, 2015 that enables TRO applicants to include a request for an order of maintenance with their application.

The order of maintenance may include considerations such as child support, rent and utility maintenance and payment, as well as maintenance and payment pertaining to cell phones, vehicle and health insurance and possession of a family vehicle.

Fall 2014

CCADVCCADV announces a new statewide 24 hour hotline aimed at strengthening access to services for Spanish-speaking victims of domestic violence. The new Spanish hotline is a part of the existing toll-free hotline.

The Spanish hotline is housed out of Interval House and answers calls from throughout the state.

Fall 2012

Lethality Assessment ProgramThe Lethality Assessment Program (LAP) is piloted in CT. IH and seven other member agencies partner with municipal police departments to implement this nationally recognized risk assessment strategy to better serve domestic violence victims in the greatest danger.

IH has the largest number of police departments in its catchment area.

Spring 2012

Governor Dannel Malloy signs into law An Act Concerning Domestic Violence that strengthens protections for victims of domestic violence. Highlights include expanding the definition of stalking and increasing the length of civil restraining orders.

The Governor’s office invites Interval House advocates to attend the signing of this important legislation because of their hard work in helping to move the legislation to fruition.

Gov. Dannel Malloy

September 2009

Men Make a Difference, Men Against Domestic Violence campaign launched by IH with Attorney General Richard Blumenthal as its chairperson and a Founding Father.

Prominent men from Hartford area use their time, talent and experience to help promote awareness of DV and Interval House.

August 2008

Bought Interval House building from the city of Hartford.


Interval House collaborates with Day Pitney law firm to provide legal services to victims of domestic violence.


An Act Concerning Domestic Violence modified to include Conditions of Release (COR) that establishes release procedures for police officers to follow when someone is arrested for committing a family violence crime. Officers may set non-financial conditions of release and arrest those who violate those conditions.

Conditions of release work like a temporary Protective order and are valid until the suspect is arraigned
in court.


Legislation allowing courts to include pets to be included as protected parties on restraining orders and protective orders is passed.

CT is one of 10 states to date (as of 2009)


CCADVInterval House joins the newly formed CCADV Fatality Review Team

Interval House is represented on the state wide team (currently called the CT Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committee) for nine years holding various positions of leadership


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

Establishes an address confidentiality program within the Secretary of State’s office


An Act Concerning full Faith and Credit for foreign Orders of Protection. Requires courts to give FF&C to all valid U.S. orders of protection and courts and LE to enforce them as state orders.


Interval House is a founding member of East Central Multidisciplinary Team (ECMDT), a collaboration of agencies involved in the investigation of criminal level cases of child abuse in East Hartford, Glastonbury, Manchester, and South Windsor to improve the investigation and prosecution of cases, work to better protect children from further trauma, and identify system needs.

Interval House continues to serve on the executive committee.


West Hartford Court GA 16 closes. All GA16 Family Violence cases go to Hartford court.

December 1999

Interval House became the trade name for Hartford Interval House


Opened a satellite office in Avon, Interval House West. Now located in Simsbury


First Part time fund raiser and grant writer hired


An Act establishing Standing Criminal Restraining Orders (SCRO) is passed in CT. Violation constitutes a felony charge Judges may issue orders that remain in effect long term — until they are altered or revoked by the court.


IH and Manchester Police Department receive a grant from Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) to form a
partnership. The Domestic Violence Outreach Team (DVOT) is formed. An IH advocate is housed full time at MPD headquarters and is paired with a DV officer.

DVOT is the longest running DV Law Enforcement / Advocacy partnerships CT.


First man hired to work full time at IH. Children’s Community Educator


The Lautenberg Amendment to the Gun Control Act of 1968 makes it a felony for those convicted of misdemeanor or felony crimes of domestic violence to have access to carry, and/or possess a firearm and / or ammunition.

Amendment applies to civilians, law enforcement and those enlisted in the armed services


Baby Emily is murdered at the hands of her mother’s boyfriend. Gov. Rowland establishes an independent commission to review the case. Cecile Enrico is appointed to the commission. The commission
makes a number of recommendations.

The 1st protocol to integrate domestic violence into DCF risk assessments is developed.


Violence Against Women Act passed by US Congress.


Three men appointed to the Board of Directors. First time male representation.


O.J. Simpson arrested for murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman.

  • 1995 Acquitted in the murders of NBS and RG
  • 1997 found liable for deaths of NBS and RG. $33.7 judgment (unpaid to date).

Summer/Summer 1994

Spring: Major renovations to shelter (move back in January 1995)

Summer: Moved shelter temporarily to brownstone building at Hartford Hospital. Administrative offices moved to IHE.

Lead paint abatement; elevator installed; new sprinkler, phone and alarm systems; new kitchen, use of the third floor.

February 1994

Domestic Violence Intervention Services (Manchester satellite office) opens.

Hotline, support group, counseling, information & referrals for victims of DV in 11 towns east of the river.


CT establishes its 1st stalking law..

October 1992

West Hartford Womenshare began..


Surgeon General ranks abuse by husband to be the leading cause of injury to women ages 15-44.

May 1990

The first Spanish Womenshare began.


Womenshare begins meeting again in Manchester after the original group moved to Hartford.


Received a 3 year grant to provide a first of its kind programs for victims, abusers, and couples.

Did not continue passed 3years for lack of funding


UConn Law school start a program with Interval House to provide legal services to victims.

February 1987

HIH hired first Family Violence Victim Advocate to work in GA14 Hartford Criminal Court. This came out of the DVPR Act.

HIH had always provided advocacy in the court since its inception


CT Task force on Battered women became incorporated and changed its name to CT Coalition Against Domestic Violence.


Domestic Violence Prevention and Response Act(DVPR Act) passed by state legislature. One of most comprehensive pieces of DV legislation in the nation (mandatory arrest, Victim Advocates in court, police training)


Cecile Enrico, Executive Director honored at the White House by President Reagan for outstanding service to victims of crime.


First US woman to sue police in federal court on grounds they failed to stop her husband from assaulting her. Landmark Tracey Thurman wins her lawsuit.

June 1983

My Sister’s Place opens (homeless women’s shelter).


Attacked by her husband, Tracy Thurman sues city of Torrington.

Fall 1982

HIH moves into present location.

March 1982

First male volunteer trained.

September 1981

First Day of Unity Held (national observance). To mourn those who have suffered and died, rejoice with and celebrate those who have escaped and survived and thank all who have worked to end violence against all people. Later the month of October became Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

September 1980

Move back to Capen Street while current location renovated. Fourth move

December 1979

HIH becomes a United Way agency.

September 1979

HIH joins National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV).

September 1978

Move to Seymour Street.

April 1978

Shelter opened at 10 Irving Street, later moved to Capen Street.

February 1978

HIH staff hired with CETA money. Very diverse – racially, sexual orientation, formerly battered.

November 1977

Grant from Hartford Foundation for Public Giving to open shelter.

October 1977

Passage of legislation establishing Restraining Orders for wives against abusive husbands Cecile Enrico testified along with many others.

October 1977

Vote to merge HIH board, BWSS and Womenshare as Hartford Interval House.

Fall 1977

Volunteers from BWSS, Womenshare join HIH board of directors.

February 1977

Hartford Interval House incorporated. A debate begins regarding having men represented on the newly formed Board of Directors

January 1977

Battered Women Support Services organized in part to provide services to women answering Task Force questionnaire. Professionals and volunteers begin counseling bat

January 1977

A SACS questionnaire about battering elicits responses from two women and drew the attention of local radio celebrity. Information first broadcast by Brad Davis on his popular rock & roll program


First battered women’s support group forms in Manchester – later called Womenshare and led by Cecile Enrico. Grassroots movement begun by women from Al Anon group

November 1976

First meeting of women who will become IH Board; Alice Kugelman, Mariana Wagoner, Grace Einsel, Betsy Karl, Betty Gallo. Founding Mothers of Interval House

Fall 1976

Asylum Hill Congregational Church allocates funds for needed projects. This recognized the need for services for battered women.

Fall 1976

Connecticut Task Force on Battered Women was convened.

Spring 1976

Grant written to evaluate SACS Hotline. Abused women also calling SACS hotline


International Tribunal on Crimes Against Women held in Brussels.


NOW forms National Task Force on Battered Women/ Household Violence.

May 1974

Rape Crisis Hotline started at YWCA (later Sexual Assault Crisis Center – SACC, now Sexual Assault Crisis Service ).

Calls were received from battered women, in addition to victims of sexual assault.


Erin Pizzey writes Scream Quietly or the Neighbors Will Hear. First book published on domestic violence.


Nancy Kirk-Gormley forms Pennsylvania NOW State Task Force on Household Violence.


Erin Pizzey open Chiswick Women’s Aid, Battered Wives Center in London. First shelter for battered women.