Proposed by State Senator Alex Kasser for the 2021 Legislative Session
Introduced by Connecticut Senator Alex Kasser
A bill that Identifies, Addresses and Prevents
Domestic Abuse and Child Abuse in Connecticut
Summary of Senator Kasser’s 2021 Bill
Purpose: To amend CT civil statutes to recognize the full scope of coercive controlling behaviors, both physical and non-physical, that constitute domestic abuse and violence. To apply this understanding to family court proceedings, specifically to TROs and child custody cases. To establish custody procedures that prioritize the safety of the child and prevent tragedies like Jennifer Magnano in 2007 and Jennifer Farber Dulos in 2019. To establish early assessment of DV in family court cases. To ensure that victims are believed and protected. To recognize that when abuse occurs between parents, children are victims too. To prevent harm to ALL victims.
Amends Section 46b-1. Redefines Domestic Violence/Abuse and Intimate Partner Violence as Coercive Control. Applies this definition to family law statutes, including protective orders, divorce and custody statutes.
Amends Section 46b-15. Applies this new definition of Coercive Control to civil restraining orders (TROs) and makes the application process available online, permanently.
Amends 46b-40. Adds “intimate partner violence or domestic violence” to the recognized legal reasons to dissolve a marriage.
Amends 46b-54 regarding GAL procedures to prioritize the safety of the child.
Amends 46b-56 regarding custody proceedings to prioritize the safety of the child. If there are verified pleadings of DV or child abuse by either parent, the court must conduct an evidentiary hearing on that issue before weighing the 15 other “best interest” factors. Establishes a baseline that the best interest of the child cannot be determined until the safety of the child is assured.
Provides legal assistance for victims making an application for TROs (within available appropriations to Judicial).
Establishes a standard for Litigation Abuse – a pattern of frivolous or false motions that harass a party or create unreasonable delay or obstruction in a case.
Requires Judicial Training on these issues and an annual presentation, open to the public.
Submitted by State Senator Alex Kasser
Greenwich, Stamford and New Canaan