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State Senator

Mae Flexer

Representing Brooklyn, Canterbury, Killingly, Mansfield, Putnam, Scotland, Thompson & Windham

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Flexer Leads Senate Passage of Bill Strengthening Domestic Violence Laws

State Senator Mae Flexer (D-Danielson) today led passage of a bill to strengthen domestic violence laws in Connecticut and increase penalties for stalking and other forms of violence against women.

House Bill 7299, An Act Concerning Strengthening Laws Concerning Domestic Violence, passed the Senate in a bipartisan, unanimous vote.

The bill amends criminal statute governing stalking to include social media, telephone and other forms of harassment, tracking and intimidation, and strengthens penalties for those convicted of stalking. It also reclassifies suffocation under the strangulation statutes, and enhances the penalty for violation of the conditions of release of an offender.

“It is incredibly important that we ensure that victims of domestic violence feel as safe and secure as possible when they make the decision to leave a dangerous and abusive relationship, and it is equally important that there are protections in place for that victim after the fact,” said Sen. Flexer. “Stalking forces a person to live in constant fear, and often leads to violence, which can be deadly. I am proud that our state has put in place some of the strongest laws in the country around domestic violence over the last several years, and has today taken action to address stalking for the serious crime that it is.”

“Stalking is one of the most prevalent risk factors for fatal intimate partner violence,” said Karen Jarmoc, Chief Executive Officer for the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “In Connecticut, over 70 percent of screened victims report having their daily activities controlled and nearly 50 percent report being followed, both of which often cause significant emotional distress for the victim. This measure strengthens Connecticut’s anti-stalking laws and improves the ability of law enforcement to intervene in these dangerous situations before they turn fatal. We thank the General Assembly for its unanimous support.”

The bill earlier passed the State House of Representatives unanimously.

If signed into law, the bill would:

  • Change the “standard of fear” required for the stalking statutes;
  • Include suffocation in the strangulation statutes;
  • Delete from the statues the requirement that the contents of a restraining order forwarded to law enforcement include the applicant’s affidavit;
  • Amend the violations of conditions of release statute to provide for an enhanced penalty;
  • And amend the pre-sentence investigation statutes to prohibit the waiver of such investigation statutes to prohibit the waiver of such investigation in the case of a family violence crime.

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