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Interval House History

Hartford Interval HouseIn 1976, domestic violence was a growing issue in Connecticut. Because no dedicated services were available to victims, women were calling rape crisis hotlines for support. Domestic violence was considered a “family problem” and adequate protective laws were not yet in place. Animal shelters had been around for decades, yet victims of intimate partner abuse had no safe place to go.

In Hartford, members of the Asylum Hill Congregational Church in Hartford, a support group for female victims in Manchester, and a group of concerned community women all saw the problem and wanted to help. Recognizing the need for safety and services for victims of domestic violence, they pledged to provide programs and support aimed at eliminating abuse. The three groups joined forces, and in February 1977 Interval House was incorporated.

Since those humble and passionate, grass-roots beginnings, Interval House has grown into a comprehensive intervention and support agency, serving 6,500 clients per year in 24 towns both East and West of the Connecticut River. We provide compassionate and confidential 24-hour hotline response, safety planning, crisis counseling, emergency safe housing, support groups, criminal and civil court advocacy, information and referrals, children’s programming, and community education and outreach—all at no cost.

Here is a look back at our history and some of the significant events that have impacted how we collectively address domestic violence as a society.

Erin Pizzey


Erin Pizzey opens Chiswick Women’s Aid, Battered Wives Center in London. It is the first shelter for battered women.

(Photo: Erin Pizzey at a rally)


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



The Rape Crisis Hotline—now known as Sexual Assault Crisis Services (SACS)—is launched at the YWCA to answer calls from victims of sexual assault as well as battered women.

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

International Tribunal on Crimes Against Women held in Brussels.

(Photo: Women attend the International Tribunal on Crimes Against Women, Brussels, Belgium, image:


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



First meeting is convened by women who will eventually become the Interval House Board: Alice Kugelman, Mariana Wagoner, Grace Einsel, Betsy Karl, and Betty Gallo.

Asylum Hill Congregational Church allocates funds for needed projects, one of which is services for battered women.

Connecticut Task Force on Battered Women is created.

An evaluation of the SACS hotline is launched to explore the rising number of women suffering from intimate partner abuse who are calling the number for assistance.


(Photo: Asylum Hill Congregational Church)

1978 BOD


Battered Women Support Services is organized by Betsy Karl to provide services to women answering Connecticut Task Force questionnaire.

Cecile Enrico convenes a support group for battered women in Manchester, Connecticut. Betsy Karl brings women from Battered Women Support Services to the meetings and calls them “Womenshare.”

Volunteers from Battered Women Support Services and Womenshare join the Hartford Interval House Board of Directors. A subsequent vote to merge the efforts and members of all three groups is passed and Hartford Interval House is incorporated.

A grant from Hartford Foundation for Public Giving paves the way to open Hartford Interval House’s first shelter.

Cecile Enrico testifies to the Connecticut General Assembly to encourage the passage of legislation establishing restraining orders for wives against abusive husbands and the funding of shelters.


Hartford Interval House opens a 20-bed Safe House in a confidential location to serve as a temporary, protected place where women can assess their situation and make choices for themselves and their families.

Hartford Interval House uses funds from the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) to hire a diverse staff to assist victims.



Hartford Interval House becomes a United Way agency.

Hartford Interval House joins the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV).


Hartford Interval house honors the Day of Unity—a precursor to what is now observed as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month—to mourn those who have suffered and died, celebrate those who have survived, and thank all who have worked to end violence.


Hartford Interval House moves into present, undisclosed location.

Hartford Interval House trains its first male volunteer.

Thurman 1885


After a brutal stabbing at the hand of her husband, Connecticut woman Tracey Thurman sues the City of Torrington and 24 of its police officers for their failure to arrest her violent and estranged husband after repeated cries for help. In a landmark decision, the court rules that officers could indeed be held accountable for violating the rights of battered women and awards Tracey $2.3 million in compensatory damages.

(Photo: Tracey Thurman, courtesy the Hartford Courant)


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

New Law 86


Connecticut Task Force on Battered Women incorporates and changes its name to the CT Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV).

The Domestic Violence Prevention and Response Act—one of most comprehensive pieces of DV legislation in the nation—is passed by the Connecticut General Assembly. The act includes provisions for mandatory arrest, victim advocates in court, and police training.

(Photo: Cecile Enrico with colleagues)


Hartford Interval House hires its first Family Violence Victim Advocate to work in the Hartford Superior Court (GA14), formalizing the legal advocacy provided by the agency since its inception.



The University of Connecticut Law School forms a program with Hartford Interval House to provide legal services to victims.

Cecile Enrico is named Executive Director of Hartford Interval House.


The first Spanish Womenshare support group is offered.



Connecticut establishes its first stalking law.

A Womenshare support group is established in West Hartford.

The United States Surgeon General publishes a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association that ranks abuse by husbands to be the leading cause of injury to women ages 15 - 44.

VAWA 2022


The groundbreaking Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is passed by the United States Congress.

Three men are appointed to the Hartford Interval House Board of Directors—the first male representation for the agency.

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

A satellite office, known as Interval House East, opens in Manchester to better serve clients East of the Connecticut River.

(Photo: Then-Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. discussing the Violence Against Women Act in July 1994. Biden was one of the sponsors of the bill, which was signed into law by President Bill Clinton later that year. Image:



Cecile Enrico serves on the independent commission reviewing the case of Baby Emily, who was murdered by her mother’s boyfriend. The review leads to the first protocol to integrate domestic violence into the Connecticut Department of Children and Families’ risk assessments.


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. The amendment applies to civilians, law enforcement, and those enlisted in the armed services.



Hartford Interval House and the Manchester Police Department (MPD) receive a grant from Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) to form a partnership, and the Domestic Violence Outreach Team (DVOT) is formed. A domestic violence advocate is housed full time at MPD headquarters and is paired with an officer. To this day, DVOT is the longest running law enforcement/domestic violence advocacy partnership in the State of Connecticut.

(Photo: Domestic Violence Advocate Penni Micca is deployed full time to the Manchester PD)


Hartford Interval House hires its first fundraiser and grant writer.

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

1999 Jen and Iris


Interval House becomes the trade name for Hartford Interval House, Inc.

Interval House opens a satellite office in Avon to serve clients West of the River.

(Photo: Interval House Advocates Jennifer Lopez and Iris Ruiz)



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

2003 Annual Report


An Act Concerning Address Confidentiality Program 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 and law enforcement in all states to give Full Faith and Credit to all valid U.S. orders of protection.


Interval House joins the newly formed CCADV Fatality Review Team (now called the Connecticut Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committee).


An Act Concerning Domestic Violence is modified to establish release procedures for police officers to follow when someone is arrested for committing a family violence crime. 

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


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



Men Make a Difference, Men Against Domestic Violence is founded by Interval House with Attorney General Richard Blumenthal as its chairperson and founder. Prominent men from the Hartford area use their time, talent, and experience to help promote awareness of domestic violence and Interval House.

(Photo: The Founding members of Interval House’s Men Make a Difference, Men Against Domestic Violence™ pose with then-Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, co-chairman of the group)



The Lethality Assessment Program (LAP) is piloted in Connecticut. Interval House 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.

Governor Dannel Malloy signs into law An Act Concerning Domestic Violence, which 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.


CCADV announces a new statewide 24-hour hotline aimed at strengthening access to services for Spanish-speaking victims of domestic violence. The Spanish hotline is housed at Interval House and answers calls from throughout the state.


Connecticut State legislation goes into effect that enables those seeking temporary restraining orders to request orders of maintenance such as child support; housing and utilities including cell phones; health insurance and possession of and payment on a family vehicle.

Victim confidentiality statutes for victims of sexual assault are amended by the State of Connecticut to include injury or risk of injury, impairing the morals of a child, and victims of family violence.



Cecile Enrico—longtime Executive Director and founding member of Interval House—announces her retirement after nearly 40 years of service in the cause against domestic violence.

Interval House hires Interim Director Catherine Bradshaw.

Interval House enters into two new collaborative partnerships with Hartford Behavioral Health (aimed at enhancing services for those needing clinical services, advocacy and case management in the area of mental health) and the Office of Adult Probation (to provide follow up for those clients who are protected parties on Hartford (GA14) DV convictions that include probation).

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.

(Photo, left: New Haven Rep. Robyn Porter, a survivor of domestic violence, is hugged by a colleague after passage of the bill she championed that requires gun owners to surrender their firearms within 24 hours of being served with a temporary restraining order in domestic violence cases)

Mary-Jane Foster

2017 – Interval House's 40th Year of Service!

Mary-Jane Foster, Bridgeport businesswoman, lawyer, and long-time community activist, becomes Interval House’s new President and CEO.

Governor Malloy signs legislation strengthening Connecticut’s DV and anti-stalking laws. Changes include amending stalking statutes to include social media, telephone and other forms of harassment, and the broadening of strangulation statutes to include suffocation.

The Lethality Assessment Program (LAP) expands to include all 18 domestic violence agencies in the State, as well as 88 municipal police departments, the CT State Police, and several college campus public safety departments—further strengthening Interval House’s partnerships with 21 departments and troops within our service area.


An Act Concerning Dual Arrests And The Training Required Of Law Enforcement Personnel With Respect To Domestic Violence is passed by the Connecticut General Assembly, ordering law enforcement to only arrest the dominant aggressor at the scene of a family violence crime, ending a damaging policy to arrest both abuser and victim in tandem.



Interval House—in partnership with Bank of America—hosts celebrated author and advocate Rachel Louise Snyder for a discussion of her book, No Visible Bruises: What We Don't Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us at The Hartford Club.

Interval House strengthens its partnership with law enforcement by embedding two additional advocates in the Hartford, East Hartford, and West Hartford police departments.

The COVID-19 pandemic brings much of the world to a grinding halt; Interval House remains open to victims, who are trapped at home with abusers and are in need of uninterrupted service.

Erin Pizzey


SB 1091 (also known as Jennifer's Law) is passed by the Connecticut General Assembly. Jennifer’s Law is a pioneering piece of legislation, expanding the definition of domestic violence to include coercive control. The law is named for two Connecticut women—Jennifer Farber Dulos and Jennifer Magnano—who were both killed by their estranged husbands while embroiled in contentious divorce and child custody proceedings.

Interval House’s annual awareness walk is named the Jennifer Farber Dulos Memorial Walk to End Domestic Violence. Farber Dulos’ disappearance was covered extensively by the media, shining a light on the indiscriminate nature of domestic violence, which is present in all communities.

VAWA 2022


The Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act of 2022 is passed by Congress. The act increases funding and strengthens support for programs that provide access to services, healing, and justice for survivors through 2027.

The State of Connecticut adopts legislation to fund a full-time child advocate at each of the State’s 18 domestic violence agencies.

24-Hour Hotline: 860-838-8467 English | 844-831-9200 Spanish