Victim Advocate: System is a “Colossal Failure.”

Report calls for drastic changes

The State Victim Advocate released a 45-page report calling for drastic changes in the way state agencies help victims of domestic violence.

The report detailed the numerous steps Jennifer Magnano, of Terryville, took to get help in the months she was murdered in 2007. It also details gaps in state services.

"The report is lengthy and it describes the colossal systematic failure of the systems that were supposed to protect Jennifer and her family," Michelle Cruz, the Victim Advocate, said.

Magnano was shot and killed by her estranged husband Scott on Aug. 23, 2007 at their Terryville home. He then turned the gun on himself.

Four months earlier, Jennifer Magnano fled the home with her children only to learn that no shelter in Connecticut would take them and that it would take two weeks to get money approved for a hotel.

In need of immediate help, they headed to a shelter in California. Magnano was killed when she returned to Connecticut for a court-ordered custody hearing.

Among the recommendations outlined in the report: fast tracking arrest warrant applications so they're reviewed in 24 hours, improving police training and streamlining efforts between police, prosecutors and the state Department of Children and Families.

"We hope that this will not fall on deaf ears," said Robert Gauthier, Jennifer Magnano's father. "We hope that these proposals are put into use and that in the future no other parent, no other grandchildren, will have to suffer what we have suffered."

Connecticut law has been changed to allow victims to testify by teleconference rather than in person.

The Victim Advocate said some of her recommendations have been adopted and others are a work in progress.

"The OVA believes if these recommendations are adopted that domestic violence victims in the future will be protected," said Cruz.

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