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Fate of federal domestic violence law concerns Connecticut officials

Domestic violence cases are fraught with unpredictable emotions. When a husband a wife or other household members clash, the situations involved are inevitably volatile. That is why it is so important to have well-trained professionals responding to them. This does not only include police officers; it also includes prosecutors, judges, and other justice system personnel.

In Connecticut and across the country, significant funding for such training programs in recent years has come from the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Renewal of the VAWA, however, has become caught up in the political gridlock that occurs so often in Washington, DC. The law, which went back in its earlier form to 1994, expired in 2011.

Connecticut officials are dismayed at the delay in reauthorizing the VAWA. State Rep. Mae Flexer, the chairwoman of the Connecticut legislature's Domestic Violence Task Force, called it an outrage.

The original 1994 law was reauthorized twice, first in 2000 and again in 2005. In 2011, however, Congress failed to do so amid opposition to expanding protections for LGBT individuals, Native Americans and immigrants who lack documented status. Advocates for the renewal point to statistics showing that members of these groups are at greater risk of violent assaults than the general population.

In Connecticut, advocates for renewal of the VAWA law say that it would provide the state with about $1 million a year in funding for services to respond to domestic violence and sexual assault. Social service agencies are among those that receive this funding. Proper training for justice system personnel is also very important.

Source: "Connecticut Officials Anxious Over Delay In Federal Law On Domestic Violence," Hartford Courant, Jenny Wilson, 2-19-13

Our firm handles situations similar to those discussed in this post. To learn more about our practice, please visit our domestic violence page.

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