HARTFORD – State Representative Fred Camillo (R-Greenwich) cosponsored S.B. 466, An Act Concerning Dual Arrests and the Training Required of Law Enforcement Personnel with Respect to Domestic Violence, a bill that would help protect victims of domestic violence from dual arrest if they report the incident to the authorities.
“Domestic violence is a serious and far too common issue that affects residents throughout the state,” Rep. Camillo said. “Unfortunately, many of these incidents go unreported because the victims fear that they too will be arrested if the police intervene. While law enforcement personnel are trained to identify the aggressor in these instances, more training is necessary to reduce the number of dual arrests. We need to encourage victims to step forward, not hide because they fear repercussion. I will continue to fight for this bill and will work with all interested parties to get it over the finish line.”
Current law does not provide law enforcement officers with enough discretion when making arrests at the scene of a domestic violence situation. As a result, Connecticut’s dual arrest rate is 20 percent, which is 13 percent above the national average. Legislators hope to reduce that number substantially while encouraging victims to come forward and report cases of abuse.
S.B. 466 would give officials more discretion when determining who is at fault, rather than placing equal blame on all parties. Lawmakers also believe more extensive training will assist peace officers in identifying the dominant aggressor, hence avoiding dual arrests when possible. By not requiring law enforcement to arrest both (or all) persons involved, victims can rest assured that bringing this matter to the authorities will likely not result in their arrest. Factors such as defense of self or a third party, the degree of physical injuries or fear of threats of physical injuries, as well as available history of family violence will all be taken into account when making a decision to arrest.
S.B. 466 received a joint favorable report from the Judiciary Committee with all members voting in favor of the bill, which now makes its way to the appropriate chamber for a vote.