Matt Lesser

State Senator

Matt Lesser

Deputy Majority Leader

Your Independent Voice

April 8, 2019

Lesser Supports Legislation to Protect Domestic Violence Survivors,
and Discusses Preventative Measures to End Infant Deaths

HARTFORD, CT – Today, State Senator Matt Lesser (D-Middletown) participated in a press conference to kick off Child Abuse Prevention Month and later joined United States Senators Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut), and other elected officials, to provide his support for the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

Lesser joins US Sens. Murphy, Blumenthal, other elected officials
and Supporters of Violence Against Women Act for Roundtable Discussion

SDO photo

State Senator Matt Lesser (D-Middletown) gives his support for the reauthorization for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) to United States Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) and Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut).

WETHERSFIELD, CT – The Connecticut Coalition against Domestic Violence (CCADV) hosted a roundtable with elected officials and advocates to discuss the need to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Sen. Lesser said losing VAWA funding for important grants would have a devastating effect on Connecticut.

“I am proud to work with CCADV to end the issue of domestic violence and am committed to supporting and pushing policies which provide protections for survivors,” said Sen. Lesser. “VAWA is needed in Connecticut to continue to provide support for all survivors and protect others from being victimized. Losing VAWA will greatly impair our state’s ability to do so.”

Sen. Lesser was joined by State Senator Mae Flexer (D-Killingly), State Representative Sean Scanlon (D-Guilford) and a roomful of supporters of VAWA to provide feedback to Sen. Blumenthal and Murphy on this legislation. VAWA grant programs provide guidelines for law enforcement and victim service providers. It also provides guidelines for how communities can hold offenders accountable, offer support for victims and keep their communities safe. According to the CCADV, the cost of VAWA to each American is $1.52 , less than a cup of coffee. VAWA funds the following programs:

  • Services, Training, Officers, Prosecutors (STOP): STOP funds are awarded to every state to train law enforcement, prosecution and courts to improve the system-wide response to domestic violence.
  • Sexual Assault Services Program (SASP): Funds counseling, accompaniment through medical and legal systems, and support for underserved populations.
  • State Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Coalition Program (SADV): Provides grants to each state’s domestic and sexual violence coalition in order to coordinate victim services.

House Resolution 1585, VAWA, was passed by the United States House of Representatives on April 4. It currently awaits action by the U.S. Senate. The legislation would assist survivors and prevent further acts of domestic violence through maintaining vital programs for survivors, investing in prevention, improving access to safe housing and economic independence, improving enforcement of court-ordered firearm relinquishment and more. VAWA was first enacted in 1994 and has become an important part of our nation’s response to domestic, dating and sexual violence as well as stalking.

Lesser joins DCF Commissioner, Assistant Child Advocate
to Discuss Preventative Measures to End Tragic Infant Deaths

SDO photo

State Senator Matt Lesser (D-Middletown) speaking at a press conference on preventative measures to prevent infant deaths caused by unsafe sleep conditions as Department of Veteran’s Affairs Commissioner Thomas J. Saadi and Department of Children and Families (DCF) Commissioner Vannessa Dorantes look on.

ROCKY HILL, CT – Sen. Lesser joined Department of Children and Families (DCF) Commissioner Vannessa Dorantes, Assistant Child Advocate Faith Vos Winkel, Department of Veteran’s Affairs Commissioner Thomas J. Saadi and FAVOR, an organization which advocates for families with children who have mental, emotional or behavioral health issues for a press conference on preventing infant deaths to kick off Child Abuse Prevention Month. According to the Center for Disease Control, 3,500 infants die each year in the United States due to unsafe sleep environments.

“We’ve lost too many infants due to unsafe sleeping conditions,” said Sen. Lesser. “It is imperative that we do everything we can to ensure every single child in our state is a safe sleeper and every family has the tools and resources to make this a possibility.”

At the Department of Veteran Affairs, family advocates and social workers conducted role-playing demonstrations for the purpose of educating DCF staff on how to provide effective care and assistance to children and families. These role-playing exercises took place in rooms designed to look like apartment units and homes.

According to Vos Winkel, the state loses a classroom size of children on average each year due to infant deaths caused by unsafe sleep issues. She also said from 2013-2018, 123 infants died due to unsafe sleeping conditions. She highlighted six simple tips to ensure safe sleep for infants, which she nicknamed the ABC’s for keeping infants safe. They are as followed:

  • Always keep your infant close to you, but never together in the same bed
  • Babies should always sleep on their backs
  • Clear your babies’ sleep environment. No toys, pillows, blankets, etc.
  • Don’t overheat or overdress a baby for sleep
  • Environment must be safe from smoke and any harmful substances
  • Find a support system for parents to get good sleep as well