A Guide to Jennifers' Law and
Coercive Control in
Connecticut Family Court

A 2 Page PDF Guide 
Highlights of Jennifers' Law PA 2178

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A Workshop:

A Guide to Jennifers’ Law and Coercive Control in Family Court



Speaker Bios



Jennifer Becker, JD

Deputy Legal Director 

Legal Momentum


Jennifer Becker is the Deputy Legal Director at Legal Momentum, the Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund and Senior Attorney to its National Judicial Education Program. Jennifer develops and implements Legal Momentum’s legal strategy towards achieving gender equality and engages in a range of impact litigation, legislative advocacy and educational initiatives. Prior to her work at Legal Momentum, Jennifer was a sex crimes and child abuse prosecutor in Bronx, NY and also formerly served as the Title IX Coordinator for New York City public schools, ensuring compliance with civil rights laws aimed at gender equity.  


Evan Stark, PhD

International Coercive Control Expert

Author of  Coercive Control: The Entrapment of Women in Personal Life (Oxford, 2007).

Evan Stark is a sociologist, forensic social worker, a widely published author and an award-winning researcher with an international reputation for his innovative work on the legal, policy and health dimensions of interpersonal violence, including its effects on children.  Evan's work on coercive control has helped shape policies on gender violence throughout in several U.S. States, in Taiwan, Turkey and other countries where he has worked, and laid the conceptual groundwork for new offenses involving of ‘coercive and controlling behavior’  in England/Wales (2016) as well as in Scotland (2017).  Evan assisted with the drafting of Jennifers’ Law, PA 21-78


Lisa Fontes, PhD

Coercive Control Expert

Author of Invisible Chains: Overcoming Coercive Control in Your Intimate Relationship


Lisa Fontes has a PhD in Counseling Psychology, and is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She wrote the second book ever published on coercive control, called: Invisible Chains: Overcoming Coercive Control in Your Intimate Relationship. She works as an expert witness in legal cases involving possible coercive control and abuse. She is a popular author, consultant, and speaker all over the U.S. and the world. She is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese.


Christine M. Cocchiola, LCSW

NYU, DSW-c, 2022

Coercive Control Advocate, Researcher, Educator


Christine is a professor in social work and related disciplines, her expertise in the areas of intimate partner violence, trauma, and child abuse. Christine has developed and presented workshops on these topics both regionally and nationally and has been a  guest on various podcasts speaking on the experiences of victims in these relationships. Christine currently maintains a private practice and coaches victims of coercive control, including protective parents of child victims. 


Elle Kamihira

Film Producer and Director

Jennifer 42


Elle is a multi-disciplinary filmmaker and media designer working across film, museums, and documentaries. Elle uses animation, live action, documentary and motion design to tell stories that spark necessary conversation and sheds light on unexplored and under-reported topics. Credits include film installations at National Museum of the American Indian, Museum of the American Revolution, Harley Davidson Museum, Library of Congress, The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Heard Museum, Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, Chickasaw Cultural Center. Media design credits include Broadway shows Rocky Horror Live, Harlem Song, House Arrest, as well video design for CFDA awards, IBM Centennial at Jazz Lincoln Center, 150th Commemoration Celebration at Gettysburg. Current projects include the animated documentary film JENNIFER, 42 and doc series THE MOST WICKED PROBLEM.

Michelle Cruz, JD

Family Law Attorney in MA and CT

Former Director of the CT Office of the Victim Advocate


With over 19 years of experience in litigation, Attorney Michelle Cruz draws from her experience as an Assistant District Attorney and her work in the field of victims' rights, family law and civil litigation. 


She is the former Director of the Connecticut Office of the Victim Advocate, an independent crime victims’ rights agency. While in that position, Attorney Cruz researched and wrote the report on the 2007 murder of Connecticut mother and DV victim in family court, Jennifer Magnano, one of the women that Jennifers’ Law is named after. 


Attorney Cruz now practices law serving clients in both Connecticut and Massachusetts,  in the areas of family law, civil rights, criminal law and victims’ rights.