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Legislation

In the state of Connecticut, there are many laws that are intended to help keep victims of domestic violence safe and hold offenders accountable for their actions. With our statewide coalition, Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and in partnership with our state legislators our we continue to work to Improve protection for victims through new legislation and create new and tighter sanctions for perpetrators of intimate partner violence.

These laws, referred to as domestic violence or family violence laws, apply to victims regardless of their age, gender, economic status, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, education, or immigration status.

Some of the laws (also known as “statutes”) created by the CT General Assembly to help keep victims safe are described below with links to the full statutes. Please note that “C.G.S.” stands for CT General Statutes, which are the laws of the state of Connecticut.

Family Violence and Family Member Defined

In Connecticut, it is illegal for someone to physically assault, stalk or threaten you even if that person is a member of your family or household or is someone you have dated. Connecticut defines family or household member to include any of the following persons regardless of their age:

  • Spouse or former spouse
  • Parents or their children
  • Persons related by blood or marriage
  • Persons other than those related by blood or marriage but who presently reside together or have resided together (e.g.; roommates)
  • Persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have ever been married or lived together
  • Persons who are currently in or who have recently been in a dating relationship

C.G.S. § 46b-38a – Family violence prevention and response states that “Family violence means an incident resulting in physical harm, bodily injury or assault, or an act of threatened violence that constitutes fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault, including, but not limited to, stalking or a pattern of threatening, between family or household members. Verbal abuse or argument shall not constitute family violence unless there is present danger and the likelihood that physical violence will occur.”

Excerpts from ctcadv.org

Tighter Domestic Violence laws in effect In Connecticut on October 1, 2017

The new law strengthens laws concerning domestic violence in the following ways:

  1. Expands the conduct that constitutes stalking to include conduct that causes a reasonable person to suffer “emotional distress.”
  2. Specifies that 1st or 2nd degree stalking may occur through the use of electronic or social media.
  3. Broadens the strangulation statutes to include suffocation that occurs when a person obstructs another person’s nose or mouth.
  4. Increases the penalty for violating the conditions of release when the violation involves certain conduct.
  5. Requires a pre-sentence investigation for anyone convicted of a family violence felony for which a prison sentence may be imposed and prohibits such a defendant from waiving the investigation.
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