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Photo of Senator Carlo Leone.

STATE SENATOR

Carlo Leone

Integrity & Collaboration

Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence

This week the State Senate had a unanimous and bipartisan vote on a bill that would discourage the practice of so-called "dual arrests" where police arrest both a man and a woman when responding to a domestic violence call.

According to the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, dual arrests have been found to decrease victim safety by decreasing a victim's willingness to call police for assistance. Dual arrests also have financial consequences, traumatize children, and overburden our courts.

For far too long, Connecticut has been arresting domestic violence victims at rates that lead the nation. Connecticut's dual arrest rate in domestic incidents is 20 percent, which is three times higher than the national average of 7 percent. Unwarranted arrests can cause trauma for victims and their families and lead to financial instability and distrust of the criminal justice system.

Law enforcement officers need to be permitted to recognize and arrest the dominant aggressors in these dangerous situations. This bill will allow law enforcement to arrest only the party it deems to pose the most serious, ongoing threat.

By passing this legislation we are telling victims of domestic violence that they can call the police and ask for their help without fear of being arrested.

The bill now heads to the state House of Representatives for consideration.