Announce A Public Hearing on
Wednesday, March 24 at 10 am (EST)
What: A virtual public hearing held by the Judiciary Committee on SB1060, also known as Jennifers’ Law, a bill introduced by Senator Alex Kasser. This bill is a response to the tragic deaths of Jennifer Farber Dulos in 2019, Jennifer Magnano in 2007 and the harm done to thousands of other victims of domestic violence (DV). The most dangerous time for a victim is when they leave their abuser and try to protect themselves and their children from further harm. This legislation is designed to keep victims and children safe in civil court by changing the law around restraining orders, divorce and custody proceedings. It makes changes recommended by Congress and requires courts to prioritize the safety of children in all cases involving allegations of DV or child abuse. The legislation also expands the definition of DV to include non-physical forms of abuse, or Coercive Control. It ensures the basic human right of all victims, of every gender, age, color and community, to live freely and safely.
When: Wednesday, March 24 at 10 am (EST). Register to sign-up for in person testimony on Friday, March 19 at 8:00 am (EST). Written Testimony with documentation can be submitted up until 3 pm March 24 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who: The legislation was introduced by Senator Alex Kasser (D), Greenwich, Stamford and New Canaan, Deputy Majority Leader,
Chair: Banking, Vice Chair: Judiciary.
Jennifers’ Law SB 1060 Advisors:
Joan Meier, JD, Founder of the Family Violence Law Center at GW University.
Evan Stark, PhD, Leading International Expert on Coercive Control
Laura Richards, BSc, MSc, MBPsS, Renowned international expert on DV, stalking, sexual violence, homicide and risk assessment. After a decade of analyzing violent crime at New Scotland Yard Laura became the violence adviser to the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC). Laura has applied her psychology degrees to analyze violent crime from a behavioral and preventative perspective.
Danielle Pollack, Ambassador, Family Court Reform, CHILD USA
Why: The most dangerous time for a DV victim and their children is when they try to leave the abuser.
Family courts are on the front lines of protecting DV victims and their children from this abuse, yet analysis shows that approximately 58,000 US children are taken away from protective safe parents and court ordered into the custody of an abusive parent each year. Research also shows that a parent who is allegedly abusing a child will win custody or unsupervised visitation 81% of the time, despite the fact that the mother and children's disclosures of abuse are almost always credible. This often happens despite a safe parent's best efforts to protect their children from harm and warn the courts of impending risk from the abusing parent.
There is a national and international civil and human rights movement to protect DV victims, the primary safe parent, and their children underway. Coercive Control laws will remove the “incident-specific” approach to criminal DV cases where the stringent requirement of severe physical injury alone determines whether DV has taken place or if a pattern exists. Coercive control laws include nonphysical abuse such as emotional, verbal, financial and legal abuse as well as stalking, harassment, gaslighting and intimidation. To date, California, Hawaii, Scotland, England and Wales have passed Coercive Control Laws. Australia, Colorado, Maryland have introduced legislation this 2021 session.
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