Mae Flexer

State Senator

Mae Flexer

Deputy President Pro Tempore & Federal Relations Liaison

An Advocate for Us

April 8, 2021

Sen. Flexer Leads Vote to Strengthen Connecticut’s Domestic Violence Laws

HARTFORD – State Senator Mae Flexer today led her colleagues on the Judiciary Committee in passage of Senate Bill 1091, a bill that will strengthen Connecticut’s domestic violence laws.

The bill passed the Judiciary Committee today on a 34-4 vote and now heads to the floor of the state Senate for further consideration.

“More than a third of all Connecticut women will experience some form of intimate partner violence or stalking in their lifetime, and this bill continues our more than decade-long effort to improve our state’s response to domestic violence,” Sen. Flexer said. “Over the past years, our neighbors facing domestic violence have dealt with unprecedented obstacles to escape abusive situations. This bill builds on the lessons learned during this difficult year and expands more protections. The Connecticut legislature will continually learn and evolve on the issue of domestic violence in order to protect and serve our citizens, and today was a shining example of that.”  

“The Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence applauds passage of this bill, which is critical to providing comprehensive protection for survivors of domestic violence throughout Connecticut,” said Steven Eppler-Epstein, Interim CEO of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the CCADV. “CCADV and our 18 member organizations work with nearly 40,000 survivors each year. We hear firsthand the struggles they face accessing vital protections that can increase their safety. Coercive control is a reality for so many survivors; it is this purposeful pattern of behavior over time including isolation, humiliation, intimidation, and domination that leaves no visible bruises but often keeps survivors feeling trapped. Because Connecticut’s domestic violence laws have always relied heavily on physical violence or threats of physical violence, there were few options to protect them from this type of abuse. Senate Bill 1091 fixes that while also strengthening other key safety provisions for survivors. We are grateful for the leadership of Senator Flexer in developing such a strong measure.”

The far-ranging bill approved today by Sen. Flexer and other members of the Judiciary Committee has multiple sections that address a variety of domestic violence issues, including:

  • Incorporates coercive control into the existing family violence restraining order law to address the non-physical abusive behaviors from which victims often seek relief.
  • Adds a complete definition of domestic violence, including coercive control, for use throughout the family law statutes, including divorce and custody matters.
  • Allows survivors to apply for restraining orders electronically and requires notification to victims that they can testify in family court proceedings remotely, outside the presence of their abuser when they have a restraining order or a protective order.
  • Elevates for consideration within the criminal justice system the heightened risk posed to survivors when abusers violate court orders in domestic violence cases.
  • Continues and expands a successful legal representation program for indigent survivors of domestic violence who apply for a restraining order.
  • Expedites nutritional assistance, child care benefits and cash assistance for victims of domestic violence and removes current barriers that give victims access to these programs as they seek to leave abusive situations.
  • Prohibits property and casualty insurers from discriminating against an individual solely because the individual is a victim of domestic violence.