HARTFORD- Today State Rep. Pam Staneski (Milford & Orange) joined a bi-partisan group of legislators and the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV) calling on Connecticut to change its existing intimate partner violence dual arrest law to a add a ‘dominant aggressive’ provision. Current statistics show that CT has a 20% dual arrest (aggressor and victim arrested) rate. The intent of the mandatory arrest policy was to remove discretion at the incident scene. However, it came with unintended consequences—victims being arrested too!
A dual arrest occurs when both parties are arrested for a family violence offense after police intervention and investigation. Connecticut’s dual arrest rate is double national rates. Victims of domestic violence have experienced first-hand the unintended consequences of dual arrest when they make the call to have police intervene—small children who just witnessed a parent being abused are traumatized when both parents are carted away in police cars, public reporting of the arrest result in ‘quiet’ gossip among neighbors, and many feeling victimized all over again.
Rep. Staneski said, “I certainly understand the concern expressed by some of our police officers around the liability that can come when an arrest is not made, especially when our statutory language dictates an arrest in response to an incident of family violence. These are emotionally charged situations; however, asking the state to allow police officers some discretion in handling the incident by adding a ‘dominant aggressive’ provision will help reduce the harmful impact on victims and their families.”
The proposal that the group supports is before the Judiciary Committee and call for changing Connecticut’s family violence arrest law to clarify that, when receiving complaints from two or more opposing parties, law enforcement must determine which party is the dominant aggressor. Such laws exists in 27 other states and guide law enforcement in determining which party is the most significant aggressor or poses the most serious ongoing threat.